Cast your vote for naming Prague Zoo’s endangered pangolins

The public can now weigh on what Czech name to give the scale-covered critters from Taiwan.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 29.04.2022 13:39:00 (updated on 29.04.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Prague Zoo is now home to two rare pangolins, and members of the public can vote for their nicknames. The two cute scale-covered mammals arrived at the zoo in mid-April from Taipei Zoo in Taiwan and will be introduced to the public sometime around May 15. The pair will serve as a symbol of the partnership between Taipei and Prague.

The critters already have Chinese names, Guo Bao for the male and Run Hou Tang for the female, but they'll now be getting Czech nicknames. Any Prague resident can vote on the nicknames by using the Pražana Portal or by voting in person at the city registry office or by mail in a form with a verified signature. Voting closes on May 12.

The choices for the names came from a survey of social media and also took into account the original names. Choices are Runa, Ruby, Rut, Růženka, or Fazolka for the female and Kuba, Bourák, Gusta, Guba, or Hugo for the male.

Readers can vote here in our unofficial poll and then wait and see if their name matches up with the winners from the city contest.

The nickname for the female Run Hou Tang should be:

Runa 14 %
Ruby 43 %
Rut 3 %
Růženka 23 %
Fazolka 18 %
177 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

The nickname for the male Guo Bao should be:

Kuba 26 %
Bourák 4 %
Gusta 8 %
Guba 10 %
Hugo 52 %
161 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

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Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said the city is very proud to have the new additions. Prague Zoo is only the second zoo in Europe to have a breeding pair of these mammals.

Thanks to a partnership agreement between Prague and Taipei, a rare pair of short-tailed Pangolins have arrived in our capital. We highly thank the Taiwanese people for them. The Prague Zoo, which is one of the best in the world, will become their new home,” Hřib said.

Pangolins, due to their distinctive look, are often referred to as living cones. Prague Zoo wanted a pair as part of its efforts to protect endangered species. Pangolins are hunted in their natural habitat and have long been one of the most illegally traded mammals in the world.

Female pangolin Run Hou Tang. Photo: Taipei Zoo.
Female pangolin Run Hou Tang. Photo: Taipei Zoo.

Both pangolins were born in the Taipei Zoo, which is their most important breeder for the species. Keeping the animals is very difficult. They must have the right temperature and very high humidity, for example. In the wild, they eat ants and termites. Prague Zoo will feed them with a special mixture based on bee larvae.

After arriving in Prague the pangolins were supervised by a breeder and veterinarian from the Taipei Zoo. The animals were placed in the nocturnal pavilion of the Indonesian jungle, but they still have to get used to it and also undergo mandatory quarantine. To keep them quiet, the Indonesian jungle will be closed in the coming days and their area will remain covered for the duration of the quarantine.

“Pangolins are exceptional at first sight in that they have a body covered with scales. That is why they are often referred to as living cones,” Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said when they arrived.

“However, our efforts to obtain them for Prague Zoo were motivated mainly by the fact that they are massively hunted in their natural habitats and have long been one of the most illegally traded mammals in the world,” he said.

Prague Zoo not only wants to protect the species by breeding them here in the safe environment of the zoo, but also tries to protect them in the wild. The zoo supports guards for their habitat in Cameroon and also makes efforts to educate people about why they need to be protected. In Laos and Sumatra, the zoo helped finance rescue stations.

People support the pangolins and other animals through the zoo’s adoption of food stamps program, or by simply visiting the zoo and buying souvenirs.

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