Hey, Toronto Zoo: Leave those birds alone!

Today we heard that the Toronto Zoo is planning on separating Pedro and Buddy, two male African penguins that paired up and are showing no interest in any of the six females they share the exhibit with. Curators at the zoo are opting to forcefully end the relationship so the birds can have a chance to eventually produce offspring.

Here are just a couple of reasons why we simply don’t agree with their plans:

  • The zoo claims that pairing Pedro and Buddy with female partners will somehow help with the conservation of endangered African penguins. In reality, captive African penguins in zoo and aquaria around the world are not running out. The endangered penguins are the ones found off the coast of South Africaand Namibia, those living in the wild. The same penguins that IFAW works to save through efforts like the Chick Bolstering Project or the Treasure Oil Spill of 2000. To date, there are no evident links between penguin conservation efforts in captivity and their impact on wild populations inSouthern Africa.
  • This is not an ‘unnatural’ occurrence, like many people claim. Same-sex bonds in penguins have been observed not only in captive penguins like with chinstrap penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo or Humboldt penguins in a Germany’s Bremerhaven Zoo, but also through scientifically-documented sightings in wild populations like with Magellanic penguins in South America.

So, Toronto Zoo, just leave Pedro and Buddy alone, let them continue their special relationship.

-- MB

Post a comment


Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy