The contest to name the Downtown Aquarium’s six month old porcupine has finally ended! A winning name has been chosen.
The contest to name the Downtown Aquarium’s six month old porcupine has finally ended! A winning name has been chosen. Her new name is Zuri [pronounced Zuh-ree], which means “beautiful” in Swahili. The staff who works with her decided that this name described her well, along with being a good tool for learning.
Zuri is an African Crested porcupine (hence the Swahili name) who came to the Downtown Aquarium from a zoo in Las Vegas when she was only two months old. She’s grown rapidly—and is now nearly three times the size she was when she first arrived at her current home. Still, she is only about half the size she will be as an adult!
This “little” porcupine doesn’t have an exhibit. She is what the aquarium refers to as an ‘ambassador animal’. Alison Cronk, the Mammal Curator and Trainer there, told me that Zuri’s “job is to be able to come out and meet and greet with our guests . . . she is also going to be able to be trained to go to classrooms so she can provide an educational opportunity in a different way than exhibit animals do.” Zuri will be making appearances around the aquarium in many forms; she will do shows, walk around the plaza, and may even do outreach programs at schools farther away from the aquarium, as an opportunity for other students to learn, too.
Still, many people (including myself) wonder why a porcupine has a home at an aquarium. Cronk answered that question: “We like to tell the story of water as a whole,” she explained, “Of course we focus on the aquatic animals that we have here at the aquarium, but we also want people to realize that everything on our planet relies on water . . . how important it is to everything on our planet.”
The aquarium posts any appearances on their Facebook page by 10:00 the same day. This way, the staff can make sure the animals are up for making appearances throughout the day. Make sure to check Facebook for any upcoming events (especially those Zuri-related)!