California Icon: Name the Condor Chick

The San Diego Zoo has opened the voting to all bird buffs.

A NOBLE MONIKER: It would be impossible to memorize the names of every dog or every cat or every mouse or every human on the planet. But there was a day, just a couple of decades back, where one could have feasibly remembered every distinct California condor in existence in the wild. That's because the numbers for the wide-winged vulture dipped low, dangerously low, with some 22 California condors existing in the wild in the late 1980s. Nowadays, though, the birds' numbers are going up, up, up, thanks to serious conservation efforts, meaning there are more condors to consider, help, and yes, on occasion, name. The naming part is going down at the San Diego Zoo, which welcomed a new California Condor chick in the spring. While no photos of the chick have yet been taken -- a photographer is not permitted in the area in which it nests -- condor fans are currently voting on possible names. In the running? Saxipaka, a Chumash word meaning "once upon a time." Su'nan, Chumash for "to continue, to keep on." Likuu, a Kumeyaay word meaning "big." And Ush'anti and Antiki, meaning "to receive" and "to recover," respectively, in Chumash. Adore condors? Want to have a say? Vote now.

MORE ZOO NEWS: The wee chicklet isn't the only baby making headlines around the Balboa Park institution, of course. A tiny meerkat is getting the big clicks on the zoo's Facebook page -- "suspicions" were "confirmed" that a new meerkat had debuted in the Kopje area. And is there awww-worthy video of the Visayan Warty Piglets jumping about, shaking lettuce with glee, and trotting on logs? Indeed there is.

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