Spices are this year's naming theme, courtesy of McCormick & Company.

The Maryland Zoo is reaching out to the public for an important task: naming their newest penguin chick! Every year, the zoo assigns a numerical ID for new chicks and an adorable on-theme name. Let's just say the zoo is spicing things up in time for the holiday season!

For 2019-2020's breeding season, the zoo is teaming up with McCormick & Company for a naming theme: different spices!

The options are Sage, Thyme, Sesame, and Tarragon. This adds some flavor to previous themes, like types of trees and last year's literary characters. All the choices seem pretty spot-on for penguins—McCormick notes sage's "silvery-grey dried leaves" while tarragon is described as having "an aromatic, licorice-anise-like odor." Plus, how cute is the name sesame? It'll be a hard choice to make, but the zoo is relying on YOU to make the call!


Courtesy of The Maryland Zoo

Established in 1879, The Maryland Zoo has bred African penguins for about 50 years. It's proven to be a significant part of their mission, as penguins are classified as critically-endangered. In 2018, the institution celebrated its 1,000th penguin chick, and their breeding program has successfully transferred penguins to zoos worldwide. The breeding season mirrors the way the species behaves in the wild, typically running from September to February. In October, two new penguins hatched at the zoo's Penguin Coast, which currently hosts a colony of 90 total. 

Want to get in on the action? You can cast your vote on the zoo's website until January 3, 2020, at 10 a.m. EST. Votes can be cast daily, leading up to the deadline. The winning name will be announced on the zoo's website and Facebook page, so stay tuned!

Will you be voting? Let us know your pick in the comments!