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Leighton Student Wins Baby Elephant Naming Contest

OSWEGO – Isabelle Perry, 9, a Leighton Elementary School student, submitted the winning entry in the Asian elephant naming contest at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.

 Isabelle Perry
Isabelle Perry

Perry, a student in Michelle McManus’ third grade class, submitted the name Batu (“BAA-two”) and after five days of voting and 3,794 votes cast online, her submission garnered 47 percent of the total votes.

According to a press release on the Rosamond Gifford Zoo website, the name Batu is of Central Asian origin and means “like his father.” It can also mean “loyal.”

The zoo received 1,396 name suggestions from across the U.S. and Canada, and from as far away as Africa, Australia, Costa Rica and Germany.

The submissions were narrowed to a list of five choices and a committee comprised of zoo staff then judged the names based on creativity as well as overall appeal.

Perry recently received an Asian elephant Adopt an Animal package courtesy of Friends of the Zoo.

According to McManus, she heard about the baby elephant naming contest on the radio and decided that since they had planned a field trip to the zoo, for the following week, that she would have her students complete a persuasive writing piece to the zoo persuading them to name the elephant a name of a student’s choosing.

“We got iPads from the library and researched Asian names. Each child came up with a name and had to state the reason they chose that name, and submitted them online,” she said. “The kids then wrote their persuasive piece, and we provided those to the zoo.”

The elephant calf, a male born on May 12 to Mali and Doc, was introduced to the public on May 26.