Zion the penguin was born on Feb. 17 while the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans were off for the All-Star break

By Nicholas Rice
March 25, 2020 05:36 PM

When it came time to pick a name for the newest member of their facility, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans knew exactly what name to choose.

The aquarium announced Tuesday that its new penguin chick has been named Zion, after New Orleans Pelicans player, Zion Williamson.

The basketball star recently made headlines earlier this month after he announced that he would cover the salaries of the workers at Smoothie King Center, the Pelicans’ home arena, for 30 days following the suspension of the NBA season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zion the penguin is an endangered African penguin and was born on Feb. 17, while the Pelicans were off for the All-Star break.

RELATED: Pelicans Star Zion Williamson Pledges to Pay the Salaries for Staffers of the Smoothie King Center

In an Instagram post shared to the institute’s official account, they shared the “egg-citing news” about Zion’s hatching and gave more insight into the naming process.

“We chose the name Zion in honor of @pelicansnba rookie @ZionWilliamson,” they shared. “In this time of uncertainty, Zion embraced the New Orleans community with a truly remarkable act of generosity after NBA season halted.”

They added how Zion is the offspring of penguin pair Hubig and Ocio and that after “spending approximately 11 days being raised with its parents,” Zion then “needed to be removed and taken under human care.”

Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman addressed the current health pandemic and shared in a statement, “New Orleans is a resilient city, and we have had to overcome adversity before — together, we will make it through this.”

He added, “Knowing we have such dedicated staff during such a difficult time working hard to take care of this new chick, makes bringing you this good news even more rewarding.”

RELATED: Visit the Animals at These U.S. Zoos and Aquariums Live from Your Sofa During Social Distancing

Fans can check on Zion’s progress by visiting Audubon Aquarium of the Americas’ social media pages for photos and videos.

Supporters can also help this endangered bird species by Adopting an Audubon African Penguin. These figurative animal adoptions help to care for the more than 15,000 animals in Audubon’s care.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

Advertisement