Tennessee Tuxedo’s Name Is Pepper

With the penguin loving world waiting for a decision with baited breath the Tennessee Aquarium’s first penguin chick now has a name – Pepper. And soon visitors might meet Pepper, or some of her other pals, up close during special penguin encounter programs.
Aviculturists who have been caring for the macaroni chick chose the winning name saying it fits her spicy personality. “She IS a pepper,” said aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. “She’s energetic, unpredictable and feisty.”
Looking at her today, many visitors might not get the impression that Pepper is a bold bird. Some have asked why she often stands by herself on a rock away from the other penguins. “It’s not because the other penguins have cast her out. It’s because she claimed that spot and won’t let any of the other penguins stand there,” Aldrich said.  That independent behavior led Aldrich and others to pick Pepper as the winning name from all of the other entries in the Aquarium’s naming contest. “I think Pepper is a fun name for her and seems to fit her Tomboy character,” said Kevin Calhoon, the Aquarium’s assistant curator of forests. Senior aviculturist Amy Graves agrees, “Pepper was the one name that just seemed to fit.”
It took Tennessee Aquarium “election officials” quite awhile to review nearly 1,000 ballots cast in the penguin naming contest. Because she is a macaroni penguin, quite a few pasta and cheese-related entries came in like Ziti, Penne, Rotini and Velveeta. Others learned of her slap-happy nature and cast write-in votes for Slappy, Boom-Boom and Laila Ali.
One visitor from Nova Scotia, Canada submitted a numeric name. “#87 after Sidney Crosby from the Pittsburg Penguins, Stanley Cup Champs ’09,” wrote Carmello Gillis.
Another visitor suggested the Aquarium name the macaroni, “Stephanie Colbert,” a tip of the hat to Comedy Central’s popular talk show host.
In the end, four people entered the name Pepper in the contest. Glenn Carlson’s name was selected at random and declared the winner. Carlson will enjoy a prize package including overnight accommodations at the Sheraton Read House and a family four pack of tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium, IMAX 3D Theater, River Gorge Explorer and Creative Discovery Museum for kids.
Visitors might not have to wait too long for another chance to vote for a gentoo or macaroni name. “The penguins will start courtship behavior again as spring approaches in March,” said Calhoon. “Pepper will be a curious onlooker this season, but she may try to steal some rocks or pester a few of the other penguins while they’re busy building nests.”

Introducing Pepper!

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