Cubs are Nadia, Natasha


Thelma and Louise was the most popular pair of names, but Nadia and Natasha proved the winning combination yesterday in the Baltimore Zoo's name-the-tigers contest.

And for an odd twist, a couple of Tigers were among the winners -- Howard and Claudia Tiger of Owings Mills, who submitted one of the four entries suggesting Nadia and Natasha for the zoo's female Siberian tiger cubs born July 11.

"If only there was a male, we would have suggested Boris," Mr. Tiger said last night, after getting home and learning from an answering machine message that he and his wife were winners.

Instead, they opted for Natasha and Nadia -- the latter for Romanian Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci who, if not Siberian, seemed to the Tigers to have a Russian name.

Twenty of the approximately 3,500 entries suggested movie outlaws Thelma and Louise.

Zoo members culled the entries to 21 pairs of names, with the winners chosen by a panel of celebrities (i.e., TV weathermen] over such suggestions as Tisha and Kisha, Rasha and Sasha, and Koshka and Mishka -- Russian for kitten and mouse.

(For the record, the Tigers of Owings Mills, married for three years, have a cat named Boots.)

The other winners are Jessica Doxzen of Parkville, Peggy Zink of Pinehurst and Peggy Costello of Columbia. All receive free zoo memberships and $25 gift certificates for the zoo's Wild Things gift shop.

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