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article imageGay penguin pair being broken up

By Gar Swaffar     Nov 8, 2011 in Lifestyle
Toronto - The Toronto Zoo is apparently unhappy with Buddy and Pedro, two African penguins who have seemingly bonded in defiance of the need for more baby penguins.
When Buddy and Pedro left the zoo in Ohio they were part of a bachelor flock of six captive bred African penguins.
African penguins are listed as an endangered species and the plan behind bringing the pair to the Toronto zoo is part of a captive breeding plan to save the species.
Buddy and Pedro act the part of the typical penguin during the day when engaging in penguin like behavior swimming around in a large pool and generally just having a great time. In the evening however, Buddy and Pedro spend all of their time together, exhibiting both mating rituals and nesting behaviors together. Part of the mating rituals include the iconic braying sound which gives the African penguin it's nickname of jackass penguin.
As recently as a couple of centuries ago, there were millions of the black-footed African penguins, but in response to a reduction of their natural food supply, reportedly from commercial fisheries and some pollution which has occurred, the population has declined significantly to approximately 224,000 birds today.
The ongoing reduction in the population is bad news for Pedro and Buddy though since it means the Toronto zoo will break the two up and pair them with females to encourage the breeding of more of the species.
This is not the only instance of what the zookeepers in Toronto studiously avoid calling a gay penguin pair.
In the Bremerhaven zoo in Germany in 2009, two male Humboldt penguins successfully hatched a chick from an egg which had been thrown from the nest by another heterosexual penguin pair as reported at the LA Times.
Vielpunkt and Z cared for the penguin chick as any other penguin pair might have while feeding the baby penguin fish mash ( I presume it to be regurgitated and partially digested fish).
Roy and Silo two male chinstrap penguins from the Central Park Zoo in New York exhibited the same behavior and were offered an abandoned egg which they hatched together and raised; the female chicks name was Tango. Coincidentally a book was written about Roy & Silo and their chick. The book "And Tango Makes Three" was reportedly a huge success. After growing to mating age, Tango chose another female penguin to bond with for at least two season as of 2005. Roy & Silo remained together for a time but then broke up. Roy remained single while Silo took a female for a partner, Roy and Silo appear to have remained friends however and continued to interact with each other.
More about Penguins, Gay penguins, Toronto zoo, Buddy, pedro
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