The public will be able to help SeaWorld San Diego name its new emperor penguin chick — the first one hatched at the park in over a decade.
As the hatching of an emperor penguin chick is “such a significant event” for both the species and the park, SeaWorld is enlisting the public to help give the newest resident of the Penguin Encounter exhibit her name, the company told Fox News Digital.
The as-yet unnamed chick, a female, was born on September 12, SeaWorld San Diego announced on Wednesday, October 25.
She was the first emperor penguin chick to be born at SeaWorld San Diego since 2010.
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SeaWorld San Diego is the only place in the Western Hemisphere (other than Antarctica) with a colony of emperor penguins.
The species is considered “threatened” due to losses of Antarctic ice.
“This is a once-in-a-decade event for our team,” said Justin Brackett, curator of birds at Sea World San Diego, this week.
“We’re all tired, we’re all worn out, we’ve been here 24 hours a day for the last month, but this is the most exciting thing we’ll do all year — potentially all decade.”
The three choices for the chick’s name are “Pearl,” “Pandora,” and “Astrid,” said SeaWorld.
Each of the name choices holds special significance for the penguin chick.
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“Pearl,” said SeaWorld San Diego, means “precious,” and is symbolic of something formed during hardships, says the poll.
During her short life, the penguin chick has already endured much.
The penguin chick’s parents opted not to incubate her egg — leading to SeaWorld’s staff having to incubate the egg themselves.
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When the time came for the egg to hatch, it was discovered that the penguin chick had a malformed beak and would not be able to hatch by herself.
After a meticulous three-day period, workers at SeaWorld hatched the penguin chick.
The chick then had to be constantly monitored for about a month as she had additional complications associated with her hatching.
Her artificial hatching inspired another of the name choices.
“Pandora” refers to the Greek myth of Pandora’s box, “which was opened not unlike the breaking of her egg’s shell.”
“Astrid,” meanwhile, was inspired by Antarctica’s “Princess Astrid Coast,” the Emperor penguin’s natural habitat.
The poll, which opened on Wednesday, Oct. 25, will close on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST.
The penguin’s name will be announced on Nov. 1.
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