Black-footed ferret kits at National Zoo get names

Three black-footed ferrets in the hands of a keeper
From left to right: The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s black-footed ferret kits Aster (female), Aspen (male) and Swifty (male) received their names July 27 following a public vote. (Courtesy Victoria Lake, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)

After the public chimed in, the three black-footed ferret kits at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, have finally received their names.

More than 6,700 votes later, the Smithsonian announced the names of the kits — one female and two males — in a statement on Tuesday.

The female kit received the name Aster, in honor of a purple flower, native to the American Prairie. She was named through a public vote on the zoo’s website.

Her brother, named Swifty in honor of the swift fox, was voted on by Smithsonian National Zoo members in an e-newsletter poll.

The second male kit is named Aspen, short for “quaking aspen,” another American prairie plant. His name was voted on by players of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s mobile game, Zoo Guardians.

SCBI carnivore keepers chose three potential names for each of the kits, each reflecting the black-footed ferrets’ significance as a North American species. The voting took place July 20 through July 25.

The kits were born on May 19 to 3-year-old mother Potpie and 1-year-old father Daly.

Next month, the kits will separate from their mother and undergo tests to see if they should stay in Front Royal, move to a different breeding facility or be prepared to be released into the wild.

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Lauren Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton is an Associate Producer at WTOP and a graduate of the University of Maryland. She enjoys covering the intersection of arts, culture and social justice in local communities. She began as an intern with WTOP in the summer of 2021.

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