For young cougar, will it be Blue, Wally ...?

A Kansas zoo’s contest to name an orphaned cougar from the Blue Mountains is down to a final five.

A young cougar orphaned in the Walla Walla area is awaiting a name at a zoo in Emporia, Kan.

A young cougar orphaned in the Walla Walla area is awaiting a name at a zoo in Emporia, Kan. Courtesy photo


WALLA WALLA — Folks in Emporia, Kan., have been busy coming up with a name for their new orphaned cougar cub captured in the Blue Mountains north of Dayton.

In January, the cougar’s mother was shot and killed illegally near the Tucannon River. Days later state Fish & Wildlife officers tracked down and recovered the 16-week-old cub and placed him in the David Traylor Zoo in Emporia. Last month zoo officials held an online naming contest for their newest addition.

Zoo patrons will now determine the winner by dropping a coin or dollar into collection boxes at the zoo, one for each five finalist names.

What made the select five are the following names, along with a synopsis by zoo officials of why they picked them:

•Blue, because of where the cub is from.

•Flint, because his new home is in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

•Oliver, because he was an orphan.

•Wally, because he was found not far from Walla Walla.

•Warrior, which brings to mind strength, character and pride.

Among names that didn’t make it from the list of 700 submitted over 10 days include the expected Mufasa, Lion King and Lyonel Ritchie.

Cute names — perhaps too cute — that didn’t make it include Baby Bobby, Cookiedough and Mr. Snicklefrits.

The contest also drew quite a few names whose connection to the cub was an enigma — Emporer [sic] of Tuscanna, Igmu Taka, Bruce Wayne and Sea Turtle. The ever popular Yovani Madrigal — who? what? — also was rejected.

Tough names like Beast Boy, GUTRIPPER and Megatron were also skipped.

Several geographical names were overlooked, too, including Seattle, Spokane, Touchet, Tucannon and Washington.

At the end of the month, zoo officials will count the donations and reveal the winner April 1.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at or 526-8325.


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