Toronto Zoo welcomes 5 endangered baby penguins
A baby African Penguin born to parents Pedro and Thandi at the Toronto Zoo is shown in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Toronto Zoo)
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013 2:42PM EST
The Toronto Zoo has welcomed a handful of new, and very adorable, residents to its grounds.
Five endangered African Penguin chicks have joined the existing penguin colony, the zoo announced Friday.
The chicks were part of a successful 2012 breeding program that produced three hatchings in the spring and five more in December.
Pairs DJ and Ziggy, Pedro and Thandi and Buddy and Farai each had one hatchling, while Greenbird and Colby had two.
The zoo said there is a fifth pair of penguins who are sitting on two eggs that are expected to hatch in mid-January.
The penguin chicks will be on display in their indoor enclosure at the African Savanna display beginning in mid-February.
Two of the newborn hatchlings’ parents, Buddy and Pedro, are perhaps the zoo’s most well-known penguins after their tight-knit friendship made international headlines.
The two became known as Toronto’s “gay penguins” after exhibiting mating behaviours, but zookeepers said the friendship was purely social, not romantic.
The duo was split up in 2011 and quickly pursued new, and what turned out to be fruitful, relationships with female partners.
The population of African Penguins, also known as Black-footed Penguins, has declined significantly as a result of commercial fisheries and climate change. Of the 1.5-million African Penguin population estimated in South Africa in 1910, only some 10 per cent remained at the end of the 20th century.