Same-Sex Penguin Couple Welcomes Chick at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in New York

Penguin Chick
Twitter - Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Elmer and Lima, two adult male Humboldt penguins, formed a pond for this current breeding season.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, has announced that they have welcomed a new chick to their family.

“We have some very exciting news,” they wrote on Twitter. “The first chick to be fostered by a pair of same-sex penguins at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo hatched on January 1.”

The new addition to the zoo will be raised by Elmer and Lima, two adult male Humboldt penguins, the zoo’s release said. The pair, two of 28 birds the zoo has, formed a pond for this current breeding season.

Elmer, who hatched in 2016, and Lima, who hatched in 2019, are the first same-sex foster couple ever at the zoo.

Elmer is named after Elmer's glue, which the staff used to repair the egg he was hatched from because of damage.

The zoo has relied on foster parents to incubate eggs in the past, they noted. This happens when a breeding pair accidentally breaks their fertilized egg, and the zoo switches them out for dummy eggs, so the real one has a chance to survive with the assistance of the foster parents.

Ted Fox, the zoo director, praised Elmer and Lima while sharing that not all penguins are good at incubating.

“Some pairs, when given a dummy egg, will sit on the nest but leave the egg to the side and not incubate it correctly,” he said. “or they’ll fight for who is going to sit on it when.”

“That’s how we evaluate who will be good foster parents -- and Elmer and Lima were exemplary in every aspect of egg care.”

Fox adds that because Elmer and Lima did such a stellar job, they may foster future eggs.

“Elmer and Lima’s success at fostering is one more story that our zoo can share to help people of all ages and backgrounds relate to animals,” he said.

Humboldt penguins are considered vulnerable, and their population is declining due to habitat loss and climate change.

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