Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Male penguin pair doing ‘great job’ raising baby Foster, says New York Zoo

Two male Humboldt penguins at the New York Zoo who adopted an egg last year have a brand new baby.

The same-sex foster couple, Elmer and Lima, first appeared at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, although a number of other zoos around the world also successfully incubate and raise chicks.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo said on its website that at least two breeding pairs of penguins have accidentally broken their fertilized eggs in the past. To improve the chances of a chick hatching, zookeepers can give the egg to a more fortunate couple.

Zoo director Ted Fox said not all pairs of penguins are good at incubating eggs: “It takes practice.”

Elmer and Lima were given a dummy egg last year and “were exemplary in every aspect of egg care,” Fox said. This prompted zookeepers to give them an egg laid by another couple before Christmas.

Elmer and Lima's new chick hatched on the first day of the New Year.
Elmer and Lima’s new chick hatched on the first day of the New Year.

The daddy penguins took turns incubating the egg until it hatched on the first day of the New Year. Since then, they have been warming and feeding the chick.

“He continues to be cared for by both Elmer and Lima, who are doing an excellent job. And once they have experience with it and continue to do it well, they will be considered as future eggs,” Fox said.

In recent years, many other institutions have good experience with adopting same-sex penguin pairs. They include Elektra and Viola, two female gentoo penguins at Oceanogràfic València in Spain; Skipper and Ping, a pair of male king penguins at the Berlin Zoo; and Eduardo and Rio, male Magellanic penguins, at the San Francisco Zoo.

Fox said these examples show that the concept of “family” is species-independent and that many families thrive in raising children.

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Nation World News Desk
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