Elephants are so stinkin’ adorbs, the way they look like they’re smiling all the time when they’re actually just thinking about stuffing leaves in their mouths or stalking and subsequently murdering people who were mean to them a really long time ago. Baby elephants are the cutest elephants of all, which is probably why the San Diego Zoo Safari Park thought it was no big deal to stick a baby elephant with a name that no one in the United States, much less Southern Californians, will ever figure out how to pronounce.
The name is Qinisa, a Swazi word that means “to act with energy, act determinedly, fulfill one’s word, or speak the truth.” Here is a San Diegan using it in a sentence: “I totally qinisa-ed that wave, bro.” But it’s not Qin-isa, no — that would be way too easy. The name is actually pronounced with a clicking noise, like, (!) EEN-EE-seh, where (!) is a tongue pop like you’re trying to signal a cat to get off the counter. It’s not IMPOSSIBLE to pronounce, with practice, but it is a letter that doesn’t exist outside of one family of African languages. Which makes it kind of a weird choice for a zoo baby you want everyone to talk about.
Qinisa is apparently a really awesome elephant. She laughs a lot, as you can see above, she has amazing dexterity, and incredibly enough, when she was only two weeks old, she made a turkey meatloaf from scratch. That’s not true. Here’s what’s true: She’s going to forever be referred to as “whatever the fuck.”
Update! Baby Elephant at San Diego Zoo Gets a Name, ZooBorns.