WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Zoo is asking the public to help name its female giant panda cub by voting for one of five Mandarin Chinese names.

The zoo opened voting Tuesday on Election Day online at Smithsonian.com. The winning name will be revealed Dec. 1 at a naming ceremony when the cub is 100 days old, following Chinese tradition.

The names are Bao Bao, which means precious or treasure; Ling Hua, which means darling or delicate flower; Long Yun, which is a symbol of luck for panda cooperation between the U.S. and China; Mulan, which was the name of a legendary Chinese warrior woman from the 5th century that means magnolia flower; and Zhen Bao, which means treasure or valuable.

The names were submitted by Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, panda keepers at the National Zoo and from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong and by Friends of the National Zoo.

The panda cub was born Aug. 23. She is only the second surviving panda cub born at the National Zoo. The first was a male named Tai Shan. He was born in 2005 and was returned to China in 2010.

The cub will make her public debut at the zoo in early 2014. When she is 4 years old, she will be moved to China to enter a panda breeding program.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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