Mavi: Mother elephant chooses newborn's name at Lowry Park Zoo

7:40 AM, Aug 20, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, FL - The three-week-old elephant calf at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has been named Mavi, a Swati name that means "voices."

But it wasn't just zookeepers who chose the name; the final decision came from the baby elephant's own mother.

The elephant care team picked five different Swati words that began with the letter M, in honor of the baby's mother, Matjeka. An online contest was then held and Mavi and Mngani ("friend") were the finalists.

Next two special enrichments were made, consisting of stacks of hay, produce and the two names spelled out in carrots.

Matjeka then, with no hesitation, walked over to the pile of food labeled "Mavi" and dug in.

Zoo elephants have previously picked winners during enrichment activities. In 2012, Tamani (then six years old) was presented with Super Bowl watermelons painted in team colors by Zoo School preschool students, and marked with a big letter "G" for the Giants and "P" for the Patriots. He immediately smashed and ate the Patriots melon, thus predicting the Giants would squash the Patriots. The Giants won Super Bowl XLVI by the score of 21-17.

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