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New Orleans aquarium names newborn penguin after Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson

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New Orleans aquarium names newborn penguin after Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson

A New Orleans aquarium announced that their adorable newborn African penguin chick has been named Zion in honor of the Pelicans rookie.

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There’s a new Zion in New Orleans. 

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas announced Tuesday that their adorable newborn African penguin chick has been named Zion in honor of New Orleans Pelicans rookie standout Zion Williamson.

The Aquarium said in an Instagram post that they chose the name Zion because of Williamson’s “act of generosity.”

“In this time of uncertainty, Zion embraced the New Orleans community with a truly remarkable act of generosity after NBA season halted.”

When the NBA season was suspended, Williamson announced that he would cover the salaries of the Smoothie King Center arena workers for 30 days, the initial length of the NBA shutdown.

View this post on Instagram

Egg-citing news! An absolutely adorable African penguin chick named Zion hatched at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas on February 17, 2020, after a 39-day incubation period. 🐧 We chose the name Zion in honor of @pelicansnba rookie @ZionWilliamson. In this time of uncertainty, Zion embraced the New Orleans community with a truly remarkable act of generosity after NBA season halted. Zion is the offspring of penguin pair Hubig (mother) and Ocio (father). After spending approximately 11 days being raised with its parents, as sometimes happens, it needed to be removed and taken under human care. This is a very time-consuming process for animal care staff and is a testament to their dedication, especially right now since we are closed, and only essential staff are on site taking such great care of the animals. The African penguins at the Aquarium serve as ambassadors, teaching guests about the plight of this species in the wild due to human-wildlife conflict. We are proud to be able to contribute to the African Penguin @zoos_aquariums Species Survival Plan, and we hope to continue our breeding success year after year. #SavingSpecies #ClosedButStillCaring

A post shared by Audubon Nature Institute (@auduboninstitute) on

Despite a delayed start to the NBA season, due to a torn right meniscus, and an abrupt stop, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 19-year-old has received lots of love throughout the New Orleans community. 

The penguin chick hatched on February 17, 2020, after a 39-day incubation period, making the chick the latest animal in Louisiana to be named after a sports phenom.

Last month, Baton Rouge Zoo named their new giraffe “Burreaux” after LSU quarterback, national champion and Heisman Trophy-winning Joe Burrow

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