XENA IS HER NAME: Any studio or talent agency worth its salt should look to the San Diego Zoo, an institution which has a knack for creating viral superstars, superstars known and loved around the world. But that knack comes from a sweet place, since the zoo understands the epic power of the sweet fuzzy baby animal. Can any of us stand strong before a small beastie's whiskery snout or wee claws? No, is the answer. And we, like many zoo fans, have just seen the next furry celebrity-in-the-making: a baby sloth. And a very special baby sloth at that: She's the zoo's youngest animal ambassador-in-training, meaning she will make cameos at special presentations and get up-close -- or at least up-closer than most of the institution's denizens -- with human visitors.
BUT... that matter of the perfect name was in question for this young superstar. Four were suggested for the five-month-old Linnaeus and the public has spoken in favor of one: Xena. Your first inclination might be to assume that a certain warrior princess played a part, which is a lovely assumption, but Xena is actually short for Xenartha, the "taxonomic superorder" that include sloths (as well as armadillos and anteaters). Xena received over 1,100 votes and the second place name, Dulce, got 900.
BIG DEBUT: No firm date has been given for Xena's debut as an animal ambassador, but she's preparing for the role via training, care, and sleeping 15 to 18 hours a day, which is what a sloth does. Rick Schwartz, the San Diego Zoo's Global Ambassador, cited Xena's "unique and outgoing personality." Yep, cuddly baby animal fans: You've got a new obsession to squee over.