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San Diego Zoo Chooses Name For Baby Elephant

Qinisa, the newborn elephant at the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo
Qinisa, the newborn elephant at the San Diego Zoo.

A 3-week-old African elephant born at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park was given a hard-to-say name in a little-known language that means to act with energy, to fulfill one's word or speak the truth, zoo officials said today.

"Qinisa,'' a Swasi word, and the first letter is pronounced a tongue pop, followed by een-ee-seh, a zoo spokesperson said.

The female calf, named by zoo employees, was born Aug. 28 and appears to be developing faster than other elephants born there. After about a week, she suck water through her trunk and pick up objects, something zoo animal care manager Curtis Lehman said other calves after about two.


Qinisa has gained 40 pounds since she was born.

The park now has 13 elephants, four adults and nine offspring. The adults were brought in from Swaziland in 2003, before a scheduled cull.

Research is being conducted at the park on elephant nutrition, daily walking distance, growth and development, and bio-acoustic communication, according to zoo officials.