|An endangered African penguin chick born Dec. 16, 2012, to Thandi and Pedro, one of the famous gay penguins at the Toronto Zoo. (Toronto Zoo photo)
TORONTO - The Toronto Zoo sent out a “cute alert” Friday and with good reason: Their endangered African penguin flock officially has eight new chicks.
Two of the parent penguins are Buddy and Pedro, who were propelled to international fame after they paired up as gay penguins and were separated to mate with females.
The arrival of eight babies — adding to the existing 11 penguins — is good news for the zoo’s Species Survival Plan, according to wildlife manager Eric Cole.
“It’s important because it means that you’ve got important birds being hatched for the future of the captive population,” he said.
There are an estimated 50,000 African penguins left in the wild now, as opposed to 1.2 million close to the beginning of the last century.