Fri, Jul 03, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Zoo seeks help choosing name for Formosan cub

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The public has until July 14 to take part in an online poll to select a name for a six-month-old male Formosan black bear cub from among 10 entries chosen by the Taipei Zoo.

The city zoo launched a campaign on June 12 to solicit entries for names for the cub as part of its efforts to raise public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.

A total of 588 submissions were collected in the first stage of the campaign, from which zookeepers selected a shortlist of 10 entries — Buleike (布雷克, “black”), Oumima (歐密馬, “pitch black”), Heitoukan (黑豆乾, “black tofu”), Yinghsiung (英雄, “hero”), Heilun (黑輪, “black stew”), Heitang (黑糖, literally “black sugar,” Mandarin for “brown sugar”), Heimantou (黑饅頭, “black mantou”), Kole (可樂, “cola”), Hsiunglihai (熊厲害, “cool bear”) and Pidan (皮蛋, “hundred-year egg”) — to be voted on via the Internet in the second stage of the activity.

Taipei Zoo Director Jason Yeh (葉傑生) said those wishing to vote should visit www.zoo.gov.tw.

The results of the poll will be published on the zoo’s Web site on July 15 and an award presentation will be held on July 18 to honor the winning name.

The cub was bred under a cooperative project involving the zoo and Lee Teng-cheng (李藤正), a resident from Pingtung County, who has owned a pair of Formosan black bears since before the enactment of the Wildlife Conservation Law (野生動物保育法) in 1989 and was allowed to keep the animals when the law was promulgated.

The zoo struck the deal with Lee in February 2007 and the male cub was born last December — the first of the protected species to be bred through a cooperative effort by the public and private sectors, Yeh said.

Noting that the Formosan black bear has a very low reproduction rate, Yeh said the zoo hopes to enhance local people’s awareness of this rare endemic species’ life history through the naming project.

“The Formosan black bear is not only the largest animal native to Taiwan but also a symbol of the island,” Yeh said.

Yeh said Taiwan now has 32 Formosan black bears living in captivity. In recent years, he said, there have been incremental technical advances in the efforts to breed the species in captivity.

Nevertheless, the basic biological data about the species remains limited, he said, adding that against this backdrop, documentation of the five-month-old cub’s growth is tremendously important to the work of raising and managing bear litters in the future.

“We look forward to preserving the pure Formosan bear species by managing the bloodlines when the bears are bred in captivity,” Yeh said.

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