Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 07, 2014 - 10:15 am

Toronto Zoo cub gets Inuktitut second name

Three-month-old polar bear christened Humphrey Piujuq

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
The Toronto Zoo's baby polar bear cub is now called Humphrey Piujuq, Inuktitut for good and nice. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TORONTO ZOO)
The Toronto Zoo's baby polar bear cub is now called Humphrey Piujuq, Inuktitut for good and nice. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TORONTO ZOO)

The Toronto Zoo’s polar bear cub finally has a name, and it’s beautiful.

When the zoo launched a naming contest for the three-month-old bear last month, more than 14,000 voters weighed in to chose from six possible names.

In the end, the public opted for the name Humphrey, which the curious little cub uncovered himself in this Toronto Zoo video.

And as an addition to his first name, Humphrey has an Inuktitut second name — Piujuq — which means good and nice.

The polar bear’s second name was a gesture of good will from the zoo after a slight naming mishap last month.

One of the six names initially presented by zoo officials was “Searik,” which they described as “the Inuit word for beautiful.”

But when Nunavut language advocate Piita Irniq and other Inuit across the country started questioning the origin of the word, zoo officials quickly realized that Searik didn’t mean anything in Inuktitut.

That’s when zoo decided to pull Searik’s definition, although they kept the name as one of the options in the naming contest.

But when voters chose Humphrey as the cub’s name, the zoo reached out to Irniq and came up with the name Piujuq, a commonly used term in Inuktitut to describe something that is beautiful.

The cub will formally be documented as Humphrey Piujuq in the official registry, said a spokesperson for the zoo.

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