Voters choose ‘Belle’ as name of baby elephant born at Fort Worth Zoo

Posted Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The English this week could only wait and guess the name of their newborn prince. In Fort Worth, people got to vote on the name of the latest celebrity baby.

And they chose Belle for the Asian elephant born July 7 at the Fort Worth Zoo, the zoo announced Thursday.

Belle was the overwhelming favorite in a name-the-new-baby contest, said Alexis Wilson, a zoo spokeswoman.

Belle is short for Bluebell, a wildflower found throughout Texas.

It’s a good fit for Belle’s family, Wilson said. Her full sister is 14-year-old Bluebonnet, or “Bonnie”

“So now we have Bluebonnet and Bluebell who are called ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Belle,’” Wilson said.

Zoo staff recommended six possible names, and then zoo patrons voted on social media.

Voting also was conducted at the elephant exhibit, Wilson said.

“Some people,” she said, “need to see a baby before they name a baby.”

The contest received 9,820 votes, and “Belle” got 2,875 votes, about 29 percent, Wilson said.

Second place went to Tujuh, an Indonesian word for seven.

Wilson said this word was selected because Belle was born “on the seventh day of the seventh month and under the seventh moon.”

Tujuh got 1,808 ballots, which was about 18 percent of the voting, Wilson said.

Other names were Ruby, Maggie, Rose and Sage.

In another baby elephant promotion, an art contest kicked off Thursday and runs through Aug. 22. Kids 18 and younger may submit one entry of a drawing of Belle. See the zoo’s website for contest rules.

“We just anticipate great stuff,” Wilson said. “We love to see the way kids see our animals.”

The winner will receive a painting by Belle’s mother, Rasha, who grasps a paintbrush with her trunk and dips it in paint.

Meanwhile, zoo patrons continue to enjoy lots of “firsts” with Belle.

One came after a recent rain shower when, Wilson said, “she got to play in her first mud puddle.”

Belle weighed 330 pounds at birth and has been adding about 3 pounds a day, Wilson said.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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Baby elephant and mom at Fort Worth Zoo

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