Local schoolboy wins competition to name 'first tropical stingray ever born in Ireland'

A baby stingray born earlier this year at the National SEA LIFE Centre in Bray has been named 'Merlin' by a local schoolboy.

Out of hundreds of suggestions, 10-year-old Rory Williams suggestion was chosen by a public vote.

Thought to be the first tropical stingray ever born in Ireland, Merlin was born earlier this year following a carefully-orchestrated breeding programme, taking in two pairs of male and female Cownose stingrays four years ago.

Merlin is now 16 weeks old, and "very healthy and extremely happy", according to staff.

Hundreds of schoolchildren from the local area sent in their suggestions, which included ‘Oceania’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Freckles’ and ‘Ray-Vision’.

The list was narrowed down to the top 10 and the public was invited to vote.

Despite the name conjuring up images of the wizard from Arthurian legend, the public thought 'Merlin' was perfect for the little female, describing it as ‘magical’.

National SEA LIFE Centre managing director Pat Ó Súilleabháin said: “We think Merlin is a wonderful name and it really suits her. We’re delighted at the huge public response to help us find the right name for her.

“She’s an energetic little thing and loves to swim round with her Mum, her Dad and her Uncle. She loves visitors, especially children and will come right up to the edge of the tank to say hello.”

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