1) Jasmine and Jafar.
These exceptionally rare white bengal twins were named for the Disney characters in Aladdin. It’s an odd choice, as Jasmine was the nubile (and knowing Disney likely fourteen) love interest in the movie and Jafar was the villain with pederast tendencies. At the very least he gave off a heavy “creepy uncle” vibe whenever he was around Jasmine.
In addition to being friggin adorable, polar bear cub Knut rose to prominence when an animal rights group advocated his euthanization after he was rejected by his mother. His name quickly went from starring in puns on the word “cute” to puns on the word “execute”. Now nearing maturity where he will be studded out to female polar bears to keep the species going, Knut gets very defensive about his “adorable” past (including a downright precious Vanity Fair cover), insisting that he is a “bear, not a cub”. He has taken up smoking cigarettes in order to appear older and cooler.
Pronounced “Flock-a”, this female polar bear shares many similarities with Knut, except she tests poorly at math and science and is demonstratively less capable at sports. Her name, which means “snowflake” in German, while cute in her infancy became a burden during high school. Male polar bears (including the aforementioned Knut) made a regular pun out of it, bragging about which of them had “Flocke-d” her, and in which orifices.
4) Koko and All Ball
Right off the bat Koko just strikes me as a racist name. So because she’s a black gorilla we have to give her a name that is a thinly veiled chocolate reference? This isn’t New Orleans, Mr Nagin. Moving on to the much more apropos name of the pair, “All Ball” was a kitten that belonged to Koko. Koko had requested a pet cat, and upon receiving All Ball (named for his lack of tail) raised him and looked after him. Unfortunately the ball like characteristics of All Ball were not limited to solely appearance, and one day he rolled into the street where he was struck and killed by a passing car. Koko criticized the relief effort during a televised benefit with Mike Myers.
5) Topsy the Elephant
“Topsy-Turvy” has its origins in the obsolete Middle English word “terven”, which means to overturn, which was a pretty apt descriptor of Topsy’s final act on this planet. A textbook example of an animal abuse tragedy, Topsy had turned on one of her handlers, leading to his death. Originally sentenced to be hung (yes you can hang an elephant), the method of execution was changed to electrocution by alternating current after a suggestion by Thomas Edison (who sought to discredit AC by proving it dangerous). The results were, as they say, shocking.
6) Tai Shan
Tai Shan is a Giant Panda born in Washginton DC’s National Zoo. Because the other animals can neither read nor see into the Panda enclosure, they all believe Tai Shan to be an Eastern Black Bear. The name Tai Shan reads like DC tried to pass the name “Tayshaun” by the animal’s home country by making the spelling look “more Asian”. In response, a zoo outside of Shanghai named a newborn Grizzly cub “Yow Ming”.[digg-me]