Zoo Announces Winners of Penguin Chick Naming Contest

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo today announced the two winning entries in its penguin chick naming contest.  The zoo’s newest female penguin chicks both hatched in January. “Chick A” hatched on January 9 to Mario and Montaña. “Chick B” hatched on January 21 to Frederico and Poquita.

“Chick A” has been named Malia (pronounced “mAA-lee-aa”) and “Chick B” has been named Calypso (pronounced “kuh-LIP-soh”).

After five days of voting and 1,029 votes cast online, Malia rose to the top with 45% percent of the total votes. Calypso came in second with 24% percent. The zoo thanks the community for their support and participation in the contest.

Mrs. Cleveland’s first graders at Webster Elementary School in the Syracuse City School District submitted the name Malia. The class wanted to find a name that started with the letter m and searched for Spanish baby names. They had a tournament-style voting system and picked the winner.

Elizabeth Young, 58, of Phoenix, N.Y., submitted the name Calypso. Her reason for submitting the name was that it belonged to the research vessel used by aquatic explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau.

The winners will each receive a Humboldt penguin Adopt an Animal package courtesy of Friends of the Zoo.

The zoo received 961 name suggestions from across the United States and the United Kingdom.  In an effort to provide names for the chicks which reflect their heritage, a committee comprised of zoo staff selected five finalists. Names were judged for creativity and overall appeal. Because Humboldt penguins are named after the Humboldt Current, a cold nutrient-rich ocean current that flows along the west coast of South America, names with a Latin American influence were given preference.

The finalists were:






Malia and Calypso will join the rest of the penguin colony later this summer at the zoo’s exhibit, Penguin Coast.


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