County Executive Maggie Brooks was joined by Zoo officials and local community members to announce the results of the naming contest for the Zoo’s three African lions now residing in the A Step Into Africa Exhibit. “Zuri”, “Asha”, and “Chester” were chosen out of nearly 3,000 suggested names from 950 individuals. The public was asked to submit a name for each lion, along with the reasoning behind their choices, during the contest which was held from July 6th through August 31, 2012.
“The Zoo’s naming contests are always popular and continue to serve as a testament to the strong community support for the Seneca Park Zoo and the wonderful animals in its care,” said Brooks. “This particular naming contest has been the most successful in recent history and I am incredibly proud that Zuri, Asha and Chester have been welcomed with open arms to Monroe County.”
Twenty people suggested the name Zuri. The name Zuri is of African Swahili origin and means beautiful. This name was given to the older and larger female lion.
Three people suggested the name Asha. The name Asha is also of African Swahili origin and means life. This name was given to the younger female lion.
And finally, 15 people submitted the name Chester for the male lion. As one might imagine, it is derived from the word Rochester.
“The combination of these three names is what truly stood out to our judges,” said Rachel Baker August, Executive Director of the Seneca Park Zoo Society. “When said together, people can walk away saying, ‘It’s a beautiful life in Rochester.’ ”
The trio, who came to the Zoo from an animal park outside Pretoria, South Africa last December, made their public debut on May 17th of this year. The male and one female were both born in September of 2010, while the remaining female was born in January of 2011. All three are unrelated.