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Banham Zoo’s leopards finally have their names

PUBLISHED: 12:41 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:41 14 February 2018

Yala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: BANHAM ZOO

Yala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: BANHAM ZOO

Banham Zoo

The votes are in and after weeks of waiting, a zoo’s endangered leopard cubs finally have their names.

Yala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: BANHAM ZOOYala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: BANHAM ZOO

Readers of this newspaper were asked to send in their name suggestions for the female cubs at Banham Zoo, near Attleborough, which is run by the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA).

And after a shortlist of names was chosen by the zoo and put to a vote, the animals have now been named Yala and Nimala - after their Sri Lankan heritage.

Michael Woolam, animal manager at Banham Zoo, said: “We were genuinely a little overwhelmed by the number of entries which came from literally all over the world.

“There were some fabulous suggestions and the hardest job was trying to get them down to a manageable shortlist.

Yala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: Alex LayzellYala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: Alex Layzell

“We ended up with about 20 and it was from those that the keepers chose their favourite five.

“We thought it was then only fitting to allow the EDP readers the opportunity to have the final vote on the cubs’ names and we are delighted with their choices.

“The names will now be added to our records and communicated to the studbook keeper for this endangered leopard sub species.”

Yala was the most popular name and won the public vote with 39pc. It had been suggested by 18 different people.

Yala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: Helen SherrattYala and Nimala at Banham Zoo. Picture: Helen Sherratt

Yala is also the name of a national park in Sri Lanka where these leopards can be found.

Nimala, which is the Sri Lankan word for creative, won 37pc of the vote.

This was submitted to Banham Zoo by just one lucky person.

Those who entered the competition suggesting the winning names will be contacted directly by Banham Zoo to receive their unique prizes.

Each winner will receive a year’s sponsorship of the named cub, including a personalised certificate and a photograph.

The competition winners’ names will be shown on a sponsors’ sign near the enclosure.

Each will also receive a copy of the Zoological Society of East Anglia Magazine and a free family day out at the zoo.

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