NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Through the Covid-19 epidemic, life goes on at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, where an endangered African penguin chick has hatched.
The Audubon Nature Institute has named the chick “Zion,” in honor of New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson.
“Zion embraced the community with a truly remarkable act of generosity by covering the salaries of the Smoothie King Center workers for 30 days after NBA season halted," an Audubon Nature Institute statement noted.
“We’re honored to name our newest addition to the Aquarium after this great athlete and, more importantly, great person, who is part of the NBA team,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman.
Zion, the penguin, hatched at the aquarium on February 17 after a 39-day incubation period.
After spending 11 days being raised by its parents, the chick was removed and taken under human care “as sometimes happens,” Audubon said.
The African penguin is a SAFE priority species due to its decreasing population in the wild, which has gone from 141,000 breeding pairs in 1956 to only about 25,000 today.
Fans of the aquarium’s Facebook page were introduced to the chick Tuesday morning.
The Aquarium of the Americas and other Audubon Nature Institute facilities remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Audubon said essential staff are on hand caring for the animals.