By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico
Their native land is now their name.
Meet Sere ‘N’ Geti (pronounced “Sarah ‘N’ Geti”), hyenas who recently moved into the Hillcrest Park Zoo.
Last month, the Clovis News Journal and city zoo co-sponsored a community-wide contest to name the pair.
Local veterinarian Dr. Leslie Morrow submitted the winning names.
In addition to his suggestion being used, Morrow receives a three-month subscription to the CNJ and a one-year family membership to the zoo.
Morrow said he was pleased when he learned his suggested names were picked.
“When I first heard about the contest, the first thought I had was ‘They’re a long way from the Serengeti,’” Morrow said.
Sere ‘N’ Geti circled each other, rubbing up against the bars of their cage and craning their necks to get a closer look at the man who gave them their names Friday.
“They’ve got body language that says they’d like to be scratched,” he said, smiling at them from behind his upturned mustache.
Zoo Secretary Laura Shepler said 310 name suggestions were received. She said they were e-mailed, received via telephone, left at the zoo’s front window or placed in the zoo’s comment box over the last month.
Shepler said she, Assistant Zoo Director Vince Romero and Clovis News Journal Publisher Ray Sullivan went through the submissions Wednesday morning and selected the winner.
“In the end that was the only one we agreed on,” Shepler said.
Romero and Shepler said they enjoyed several of the submissions, especially:
• “Pickin’” and “Grinnin’”
• and “Grin” and “Barret.”
Shepler said they eliminated repetitive entries and narrowed the list to about a half-dozen, focused on the more African-sounding names.
From there the choice was easy, she said, explaining they quickly settled on Sere ‘N’ Geti because the play on words had significance for the 11-month-old cubs.
Shepler said Serengeti is the area of Africa where spotted hyenas are most common.
“The zoo crew really likes the names,” Romero said. “They are easy to remember, easy to get off your tongue.”
Morrow said he plans to give the one-year zoo membership to a former employee who’s working and going through the nursing program at Clovis Community College.
About the winner:
Veterinarian Leslie Morrow is always on the lookout for punny names. In addition to dreaming up Sere ‘N’ Geti for the Hillcrest Park Zoo’s hyenas, he said he’s suggested several names for his customers’ pets.
He suggested a family named Duncan call their dog “Doughnut.”
For the Roebucks family, he suggested their pet be named “Sears ‘n.’” he said.
“If I can get somebody to roll their eyes, I know it was a good one,” he said.