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National Zoo panda cub has five name options

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WASHIINGTON (WJLA) - At long last, the National Zoo's female baby panda is getting a name, and they're letting the people help decide what it will be.

What should the cub's name be? You have until Nov. 22 to vote. Photo: Smithsonian's National Zoo

Voters have until November 22 to vote from five Mandarin Chinese names.

In China, it is tradition to celebrate on a baby’s 100th birthday, so the winning name will be announced when the female cub is 100 days old on December 1.

"I have been waiting for this. I have been waiting for this. This is great," said Virginia resident Lisa Domenech.

As we canvassed zoo patrons, clear sides were taken on the name. Children prefer Mulan -- also the name of an animated Disney character -- while adults like Bao Bao.

"I like Mulan -- it shows that women can be strong too," said Emily Garrett of Oklahoma.

"Mulan to me is courage, strong and powerful," agreed Sydney Spencer from Virginia.

"I don't know if she's a Disney character," countered Damani Renaud. "She's her own panda, you know."

Starting Tuesday, panda fans can log on to the Smithsonian Magazine's website to cast their vote for one of five possible names for Mei Xiang's little girl.

Here are the names and their meanings below:

Name Meaning
Bao Bao Precious, treasure
Ling Hua Darling, delicate flower
Long Yun Chinese symbol of the dragon + changing; represents a sign of luck
Mulan Legendary young Chinese warrior; also means magnolia flower
Zhen Bao Treasure, valuable
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