Thanks to thousands of grizzly bear fans, The Maryland Zoo is happy to announce that the orphaned bear cubs now have official names. Next time you come to the Zoo, please say hello to Nova and Nita!

“Big bear” is now Nova, a Native American word which means “chasing butterflies,” and “Little bear” is Nita, a Native American word for “bear.” Nova and Nita were one of the name pairs presented for the contest from a few different sources, including the anonymous donor who helped to pay for the bears’ transportation to Baltimore, the Consolidated Salish and Kootenai tribe and the Polar Bear Watch animal care team members.

By the time voting closed at 8:00 am on Wednesday morning, Nova and Nita had runaway with 29% of the vote, with over 6,000 votes cast.

Nova and Nita can be seen daily at Polar Bear Watch from 10:00 am until 2:30pm. The grizzly bear exhibit and the naming contest are proudly sponsored by Garrison Forest School, home of the Garrison Forest Grizzlies.

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