Let there be HOPE!

Update March 1, 2010 – 4:28 PM CST

The long-awaited name for the cub is ‘Hope.’

We thank Cub Foods for publicizing the naming contest and for providing $500 in Cub Foods gift cards to the winner and an equal amount to the North American Bear Center.

155 people—from as far away as Romania—submitted this name.  The winner in a random number drawing from among those entries is Cathy Williamson of Indiana, who submitted the name on the first day of the contest.

And we certainly ‘hope’ this cub is a female!  Some people who’ve glimpsed little Hope lately think she’s a ‘he.’  We’re still saying female, but time will tell.

There were many reasons to pick other names, but none spelled out the mission of these ambassador bears and the Bear Center like ‘Hope.‘

Daisy was the most popular flower name to go with Lily.

Elly or Ely would signify the ties to Lily and Ely.

Camden or Cammie would have been good names for the first cub born on camera while thousands watched.

Lyla would have been good because of what the name means to Lynn and because it means dark beauty.  We’ll save that one for after radio-collared bears are better protected.

Joy would stand for what Lily and the cub bring to people.

But ‘Hope’ says the most.  Hope for all bears is what we felt when we saw the interest this cub engendered.

To borrow an idea from Sarah Bailey of Great Falls, Montana, the name spells out:

Hope—for bear populations everywhere, including endangered species around the world
Opportunity—to learn what bears are really like
Progress—toward correcting misconceptions and changing attitudes
Education—about bear life

We all want long lives for Lily and Hope to maximize what they can teach us.  We have asked for legal protection of radio-collared bears and have asked hunters to voluntarily spare them to let this research and education continue.

Thank you again for your donations and a special thank you to the school classes and individuals who are holding fundraisers.   Thank you, too, for the ideas for improving our outreach to young people.  We can use a lot of donated material and taxidermy.  We will thankfully make plaques for taxidermy saying “Donated by…”

—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, North American Bear Center