A pair of African penguins, Buddy and Pedro, who are inseparable and “pair bonding’’ at Toronto Zoo are to be split up to do what they need to do for their endangered species: mate.
The move to split them up is part of a species survival plan among zoos.
“They do courtship and mating behaviors that females and males would do,’’ one keeper told the Toronto Star.
Those behaviors include making a “braying’’ sound, almost like a donkey, as a mating call. They defend their territory, preen each other, and are constantly standing alone together.
Every night Buddy and Pedro pair off together.
“It’s a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort,’’ says Joe Torzsok, chair of the Toronto zoo board.
Buddy and Pedro arrived from Toledo, Ohio, where they formed a connection as members of a bachelor flock.
The species is found on the coast and islands of southern Africa and Namibia.
The present population is probably less than 10% of that in 1900, when there was estimated to be about 1.5 million birds on Dassen Island alone. By 1956, the population had fallen to roughly half that, and had halved again by the late 1970s, when there was an estimated 220,000 adult birds. By the late 1980s, the number had dropped to about 194,000 and in the early 1990s, there was an estimated 179,000 adult birds. Breeding no longer occurs at 10 localities where it formerly occurred or has been suspected to occur.
The major current threats include competition with commercial fisheries for pelagic fish prey, and oil pollution. Given an annual rate of decline of about 2% per year, there is considerable concern about the long-term viability of African Penguins in the wild.
Homosexual behaviour has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them.
An award-winning children’s book ‘And Tango Makes Three‘ is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins who raised a chick together in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book is listed on the 15 Most Controversial Picture Books because of the constant challenges made to it by parents and organized Christian groups.
Image source Toronto Zoo Say It With Penguins
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