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We Must Name the Cheetah Cubs

Photograph by Adrienne Crosier, courtesy Smithsonian's National Zoo.

The cheetah cubs born last month at Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, need names. This is where we come in, people of Washington.

Don’t even think of proposing something you saw on Tiger King for the three males and one female cub: Smithsonian’s National Zoo has wisely foreclosed the possibility of user-submitted names. The names you may vote on are:

• For the female, Amabala (“Zulu for ‘spots’”); Vivace (“A musical term meaning short, lively and brisk”); or Iambe (“One of the two daughters of the mountain nymph, Echo, in Greek mythology”).

• For the lads, Jabari (“Swahili for ‘fearless’ or ‘brave one'”); Hasani (“Swahili for ‘handsome'”); Phoenix (“A mythical bird associated with the sun that regenerates or is otherwise born again from its own ashes”); Erindi (“A protected reserve in Namibia where many cheetahs are re-released”) or Tolbo (“Mongolian for ‘spot”’).

Voting closes May 26, and the winning names will be announced May 27. No cheetin’!

Photograph by Adrienne Crosier, courtesy Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.