Furry Friday: African Penguins

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Some of the best days of summer are spent by the pool with your buddies… just walking around in your tuxedo being a bachelor.

At least, that’s what the African Penguins seem to think at the Roosevelt Park Zoo.

They’re known as a ‘bachelor group.’

The eight male penguins were never matched with an appropriate mate, so each arrived stag in Minot.

In this week’s Furry Friday, Jennifer Kleen takes us poolside with the coolest bachelors in town.

(Jennifer Kleen, KX News) Meet the guys.

(Lana Erickson, Roosevelt Park Zoo) “We have eight penguins so it’s Wes, Spanky, George, Eddie, Rocky, Salt, Taz, Sigmund.”

(Kleen) Keeping a genetically diverse population in captivity is the work of the Species Survival Plan. For this poolside bachelor group, they were never matched up with a mate, so it’s life with the bros.

(Erickson) “We weren’t really set up for breeding so we told them we just need penguins so it worked out well for both of us.”

(Kleen) These African Penguins like it warm,

(Erickson) “They can handle the weather from about 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit.”

(Kleen) they like to hang out,

(Erickson) “Sometimes they’ll go off on their own but for protection in the wild, they like to stay together.”

(Kleen) and they like to play.

(Erickson) “They really like baby toys. Key rings and things like that, you put them inside the pool and they’ll swim, grab them and put them in a pile because they like to do that for mating.”

(Kleen) Mating is a big issue for the African Penguin.

(Erickson) “They are considered endangered in the wild. South Africa is rehabilitating them in the wild. A big issue these guys have is commercial fishing because their primary diet in the wild is sardines and anchovies, and also oil spills have a really big impact on them. They had a recent one where quite a bit of the population was affected by it. The reason that’s a big deal is because the oil affects the waterproof-ness of their feathers, so they can’t swim and if they can’t swim, they can’t get their food and they end up starving to death.”

(Kleen) They’re role in captivity is important,

(Erickson) “And Salt found a butterfly. There’s a butterfly over there.”

(Kleen) even if it’s standing by to leave the mating to other African Penguins.

At Roosevelt Park Zoo, this has been home for the group of eight for awhile, five pre-flood, three post-flood, including the youngest members Salt and Taz.

(Erickson) “They’ll both be three this year. They were born in November about three days apart.”

(Kleen) The oldest bachelor,

(Erickson) “My favorite is probably the old guy, Spanky.

(Kleen) has outlived his wild life-expectancy by 13 years.

(Erickson) “He’s 33 years old. He just turned that in June. He’s very much an old, geriatric penguin.”

(Kleen) He has the usual aches and pains associated with old age, a little trouble with his eyesight and he’s a little irritable with the young members of the group.

(Erickson) ” With his age, you’re starting to see the grumpy old man attitude.”

(Kleen) But even then, he’s still pretty cool with being one of the guys by the pool. From the Roosevelt Park Zoo, Jennifer Kleen, KX News.

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