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Conservancy Holds Contest To Name Wild Bottlenose Dolphins


A few years ago, a British government agency proposed letting the public suggest names for a multi-million-dollar research ship.


People got creative and came up with the RRS Boaty McBoatface. Now, the agency didn't decide to go with that, but now there's another chance.

KING: Yeah, the Potomac Conservancy outside of Washington, D.C., is holding a public contest to name a pair of wild bottlenose dolphins that live in the Potomac River. Scientists have already named several hundred dolphins in the Potomac River. It helps with tracking them. There is Martha Washington, Lady Bird Johnson, Abraham Lincoln. You get the idea. Here's researcher Dr. Janet Mann. She's a professor at Georgetown University and the founder and director of the Potomac-Chesapeake Dolphin Project.

JANET MANN: When we started in 2015, we decided to name them after presidents, vice presidents, first ladies, you know, instead of big political figures given that the Potomac is such an iconic river. And then it became clear we were going to start running out of names (laughter).

MARTIN: And that is where you come in. The Potomac Conservancy says it's looking for creative names related to the river or that pay tribute to someone. Here's Mann again.

MANN: We try to maintain a clear criteria for the naming and terms so that we want people of significance and significance for the environment.

KING: They've already gotten a lot of ideas, and the competition is pretty intense according to conservancy spokesperson Melissa Diemand.

MELISSA DIEMAND: We've really been pleased to see the energy and enthusiasm from the public around this. And we're seeing hundreds of names come in. I was particularly tickled by one entry for Ruth Bader Finsburg (ph).

MARTIN: Finsburg. Get it? Awesome.

KING: (Laughter) You have until the end of today to submit an idea on the conservancy's website potomac.org.

MARTIN: And local news reports that, yes, someone has already submitted Dolphin McDolphinface. Come on, people. Try a little harder.

(SOUNDBITE OF IMAGINED HERBAL FLOWS' "CLOUDS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.