Wondering how to celebrate Penguin Awareness Day on Friday (yes, it exists and if you didn’t know, why do you hate flightless seabirds)? Then take a minute and help name the California Academy of Sciences’ new penguin chick, a soon-to-be fearsome predator of the water that right now looks like a fluffy eggplant with a beak.
The chick, part of the Cal Academy’s “species-survival plan” colony of African penguins, was born in November and had its name put up to open online voting earlier this month. Suggestions poured in, among them Waddles, Turtle, Beaky Smalls, the obligatory Penguin McPenguinface, Lolita (whoa, calm down there, guy), Pudge, Gandalf the Grey and Happy Plappy. Four winners have emerged, which will be voted on through tomorrow, Jan. 18:
Greta — “in honor of youth climate-activist Greta Thunberg”Hope — “for the Cape of Good Hope and future of the species”Penny — “for Cape Peninsula, South Africa”Pogo — “because they do little hops!”
The winning name will be announced on Friday, Jan. 20, and henceforth people will be able to watch Pogo or Greta or whoever paddle around on a live penguin cam.
Interested in what the fuzzball is doing right now? The academy provides this recent update:
Hatched right here at the Academy to parents Stanlee and Bernie, the chick is currently behind-the-scenes with our Steinhart Aquarium biologists learning to eat fish fed to her by hand, working hard to grow wing feathers in place of her chick down and, of course, doing lots of snuggling with her penguin stuffie. When her wings stiffen and her swimming feathers come in, she’ll begin testing the waters in a small pool and broadening her gastronomic horizons to whole herring.