The San Diego Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of  Oceanography at UC San Diego officially named one of its Little Blue Penguins as Azulito, which translates to “little blue” in Spanish, to honor the binational region. 

Azulito translates to “little blue” in Spanish, and it was the winning name among four other options when the public was asked to choose during a naming campaign launched in April. According to the Birth aquarium,  Azulito won by a landslide with 924 votes. Diego trailed behind with 588 votes, and Flip came in third with 438, followed by Triton and Torrey with 234 and 281 votes. 

“This is the first time we have invited the public to help name one of our animals. So, it was a special moment for aquarium fans as well as our staff. We hope this is the beginning of a long tradition of naming our penguins,” said Kayla Strate, lead penguin aquarist. “We want to thank everyone who submitted a name online. Azulito is the perfect fit for this tiny penguin, and we love that it’s a nod to our binational region.”

Azulito will join Magic, Nero, Persimmon, Reka, Cornelius, and Katie — who were all named through philanthropic gifts when they move into  Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins. The Little Blue Penguins stand about a foot tall and weigh about 3 pounds. 

This 2,900-square-foot exhibit will include rocky and sandy shore habitat and an 18,000- gallon pool where guests will observe the penguins socializing, interacting, and nest building. The exhibit also includes a small amphitheater for guests to observe birds swimming, and a discovery cave to closely observe Little Blue Penguins on land and inside a nesting box. 

“Little Blue Penguins and other seabirds, are sentinel species for our ocean’s health and help us understand how we can be better stewards for our planet,” said Jenn Nero Moffatt, Senior Director of Animal Care, Science, and Conservation in a press release. “We hope that one look at their awkward waddling, their pint-sized bodies, torpedo swimming, and social nature will leave our guests enchanted, and wanting to learn how to aid in conservation efforts.”

Guests can meet Azulito and the rest of the colony starting July 12. 

“Being able to introduce the community to Little Blue Penguins and foster a deeper connection and understanding of their environment, how important they are to our ecosystems and the survival challenges they face, is truly a milestone worth celebrating,” said Jenn Nero Moffatt, Senior Director of Animal Care, Science, and Conservation.

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