The Votes Are In! Zoo’s Lion Cubs Officially Named ‘Luke’ And ‘Leia’

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s official! The new lion cubs at the Maryland Zoo finally have names. WJZ teamed up with the zoo for an exciting naming contest. Tens of thousands of votes were cast. Now the results are finally in.

Linh Bui reveals the top choices.

The cubs are healthy and growing. They’re about 20 pounds each. Now we finally know what to call them.

Adorable, playful and getting bigger every day. They’re the stars of the Maryland Zoo.

“These guys are  great. They’ll be an amazing draw. This is the first time the zoo has ever had lion cubs, so, historically, that’s pretty impressive,” said Erin Cantwell, manager, Maryland Zoo.

Only WJZ entered the lion’s den to meet the cubs, who were very friendly, despite all they’ve been through.

Dad is still at the zoo, but sadly, mom died from birth complications. She had four cubs–only two survived–but they’re thriving in the round-the-clock care of zookeepers.

And they just got a new playmate! Zuri joined them from the Miami Zoo after her brothers died.

The cubs are all doing very well at the Maryland Zoo. But they were missing something important–names! So WJZ and the zoo hosted a naming contest. In two weeks, we got more than 43,000 votes.

Zookeepers have simply been calling them “brother” and “sister.”

“People have a lot of input on what they want them to be named. So that’s good. I think it’s great. Gets people involved and makes them want to come and see them,” said Carey Ricciardone, Maryland Zoo mammal collection and conservation manager.

The results are in, and the names were revealed live on WJZ Eyewitness News. The winners? Luke and Leia! The Star Wars inspired names got more than 20,000 votes.

“We’re super excited for them to finally have names,” said Cantwell.

Luke is shy and Leia is bold. Now they have names to go with those budding personalities.

Friday, Luke and Leia turn 11 weeks old. So getting names is the perfect birthday gift for them.

The public will be able to see the cubs sometime in the spring when the weather gets a little warmer.

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