The Florida Aquarium and Lowry Park Zoo are collaborating to save the critically endangered African penguin in cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the S.A.F.E. (Saving Animals from Extinction) program.
Rocky the 8-year-old penguin was matched with Tampa Lowry Park Zoo's African penguin, Thumbelina, and transported to the zoo.
Zoo staff is monitoring the interactions between the two to see if they will bond and mate.
According to the zoo, after a male African penguin reaches the age of sexually maturity, usually about four years old, it will court the female penguin it has bonded with. If the female accepts, they will continue to mate for life. After the female produces one to two eggs, the male and female take turns during the 40 days of incubation.
“We are proud to be working to preserve a species like the African Penguin, which faces a number of threats in the wild,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, Chief Zoological Officer. “The Species Survival Program takes a great deal of planning and evaluation to ensure the survival of these critically endangered species.”
“It is our hope that these amazing animals’ offspring inspire guests to help us protect this critically endangered species for many generations to come,” said The Florida Aquarium’s Senior Vice President of Conservation, Science and Research Margo McKnight.