Elginites asked to name newest bison at Lords Park Zoo

Elgin's youngest bison has been known only as No. 67 - from the Fermilab auction where she was purchased - and needs a name.

Lords Park Zoo in Elgin is asking the public to pick a name for its newest bison, a female who arrived in November and is nearly 11 months old.

"Because of the support from the community (for the zoo), we thought they should be the ones to select the names," said Terry Gabel, president of the volunteer organization Friends of Lords Park Zoo, which purchased the bison last year.

The choice is among six Native American names: Enapay, or "brave," from the Sioux language; Halona, or "happy fortune" from the Creek language; Kachina, or "life spirit" from the Hopi language; "Leotie" or prairie flower, from the Cherokee language; Onida, "awaited one" from the Oneida language; and Takoda, or "friend to all" from the Dakota language.

The poll is conducted at

Elginites can also cast paper ballots at the Elgin Public Museum, 225 Grand Blvd., open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The volunteer group conferred with two Native American groups, including the Midwest Soarring Foundation in Lockport, to ensure the name choices were appropriate, Gabel said.

"One of the factors we considered was that (the names) were pronounceable," he said. "We didn't want multisyllabic words that kids couldn't say."

Bison were a pivotal and focal point of Native American cultures in the western United States, so it seemed appropriate to give the young bison such a name, Gabel said.

The zoo has two other bison, Drew and Becky, both about 17 years old, named at Brookfield Zoo, where they came from.

The voting deadline is April 30. Mayor David Kaptain announces the name May 13 at Lords Park Zoo.

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