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Tulsa Zoo wants your help naming this baby African penguin

By Yenny Sanchez, CNN

Here’s your flippin’ chance to name a baby penguin.

The Tulsa Zoo is asking the public for help naming an African penguin chick that hatched to parents Dassen and Ireland on October 3.

Since the chick’s sex hasn’t yet been determined, the zoo has provided three gender-neutral names to vote on: River, Sandy and Robbie.

The names are derived from the penguin’s designated ID number 4242, the zoo said. River is short for New York Yankee Mariano Rivera, who was No. 42 and a Hall of Fame closing pitcher; Sandy is short for “Sandman,” which is Mariano’s nickname; and Robbie is short for Jackie Robinson, also No. 42 and the first African American MLB player.

“This is a timely celebration because this month marks the 20-year anniversary of our penguin exhibit,” Tulsa zookeeper and AZA African Penguin Studbook Keeper Seana Flossic said in a news release. “It’s especially meaningful to involve the public in choosing a name for this chick since the entire $1.34 million that funded our current penguin exhibit was raised through community donations.”

African penguins are one of the smallest penguin species, and are covered in black, white and gray feathers that are not only waterproof, but set in unique patterns. They are considered a “highly endangered” species, the Tulsa Zoo says.

Voting on Tulsa Zoo’s website will continue through December 31. Zoo officials will announce the name and sex — which is determined through a DNA test — in early 2023.

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