The Toronto Zoo family is welcoming its newest members this month. An adorable new African penguin chick has just arrived at the Toronto Zoo, along with a furry little red panda cub. The baby penguin hatched last month and is the third baby for penguin parents Ellie and Chupa.
It hadn't been the easiest road to parenthood for Ellie and Chupa this time around. By the time the new chick finally hatched on March 1st, it had been a long and treacherous journey for the penguin couple. According to the Toronto Zoo, the assistance of another penguin couple had to be solicited after Ellie and Chupa had encountered "parenting problems" with their second chick, CP24 reports.
That's when Flap and Shaker, a penguin "surrogate" couple, were brought into the equation. The second pair of penguins were enlisted to finish the incubation period and raise the new chick. Based on a report by CP24, incubation typically lasts around a month. Chicks tend to stay with their parents for approximately three weeks after the egg has hatched.
The Toronto Zoo stated in a news release, "The arrival of this endangered African penguin chick signifies a great achievement for these penguin parents and the African Savanna Wildlife Care staff. The Toronto Zoo was able to reach 100% of our SSP pairing and breeding goals with the success of this breeding season. The African penguins at the zoo help draw attention to this imperilled species."
We interrupt your morning ☕ for this very important announcement: We are excited to announce the successful hatching of an endangered African penguin chick on Friday, March 1, 2019! 🐧 Learn more: https://t.co/GHj3JEpG7X #savingspecies pic.twitter.com/wWaTzESdEu
According to the Toronto Zoo, the African penguin species' population has declined over 97 percent over the last one hundred years and is considered to be one of the most endangered penguin species in the world.
The penguins are under a constant threat of food shortages due to climate change and over-fishing, disease, predators, and oil spills. New statistical evidence suggests there may be as few as 25,000 breeding pairs left in the wild, according to the Toronto Zoo.
The Toronto Zoo is still unsure the new penguin chick's sex since male and female African Penguins look physically the same when they first hatch. Currently, the chick is not available for public viewing.
The Toronto Zoo is also expecting the arrival of a baby red panda, Ila, this month. Ila will be moving from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, and her caretakers say she is excited to make Toronto her new home.
Zeya is headed to @NEWZOOGB and Ila is headed to @TheTorontoZoo. While we will miss the girls, this move is recommended under the Red Panda Species Survival Plan and the twins are ready to start their next chapter. pic.twitter.com/UDTI8eHDd3