After a month-long public voting contest, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium has a new name for its Coral Catshark pup. Moonga, meaning coral in Hindi, was the winning name for the young pup.
“Moonga is a direct reference to the shark’s species and one of the languages spoken in the region where these sharks are from,” said Jennifer Drayna, Outreach Coordinator. “Conservationist Baba Dioum once said, ‘In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.’ Providing a name for this shark pup will help the public understand and empathize with these creatures.”
Mõnõnõ, meaning happy in Marshallese, and Ariel, a reference to “mermaid’s purses” or shark egg cases, came in second and third. Moonga will continue to live in view of visitors in the River Museum’s Conservation Lab for the time being. As she ages, Moonga will become part of the organization’s Animal Ambassador program, educating participants on the importance of shark species and the interconnectivity and health of our waterways.