The next time Lillooet residents visit the Vancouver Aquarium, they may want to pay special attention to the Aquarium's seven African penguins, including a female penguin named Lillooet.
During a month-long, Name-the-Penguins contest, more than 600 entries from across BC were submitted to the Aquarium. Ranging from incredible pieces of artwork and quirky written essays, to creative poems and original video submissions, the entries charmed the panel of judges.
To welcome the seven African penguins to their new home, Aquarium staff thought it would be fitting to name them after British Columbia places, and to get residents' help naming them. "We are always looking for fun ways to engage with our visitors. The naming contest has been extremely popular and we thank everyone who participated," says Clint Wright, senior vice-president and general manager of the Vancouver Aquarium. "The panel of judges chose names that resonate both with the staff who work with the animals and with our visitors."
A panel of Vancouver Aquarium judges, including staff who work and care for the penguins, carefully reviewed each entry.
The seven winning names are Lillooet, Tofino, Hope, Nelson, Steveston, Sechelt and Salt Spring.
Lillooet, the new name for a pink-beaded penguin, was submitted by Miriam Moysey. The beads refer to the colour of the beaded bracelet each penguin wears as an ID.
The panel appreciated Moysey's submission for Lillooet, which she linked to the Lillooet Nation that has existed for thousands of years. Moysey's entry included a call to action, and drew attention to the need to conserve and protect the natural world. "This really resonated with the Aquarium's panel of judges as African penguins also need to be protected as their numbers have declined by 90 per cent since the 1900s," the Aquarium said in a news release.
African penguins are also called black-footed penguins (due to the colour of their feet) and jackass penguins (because of their very distinctive donkey-like call).
The winners will receive a one-year family membership to the Aquarium, and will be able to take three friends on a VIP penguin experience.
The Aquarium is urging people who want to see the new African penguins to "waddle your way to Penguin Point, where you can watch these little characters as they lounge on their rocky beach, paddle around and 'fly' underwater. Plus, discover these birds' amazing adaptations to life at sea, including some of their goofy and distinctive penguin behaviours."