Tux and Apollo: A Love Story

Tux and Apollo

Hanging out with my boyfriend, Apollo in the SciQuarium!

Hi, friends, it’s Tux again. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share a little bit about my relationship with Apollo. We have lived together since we were chicks, but really didn’t take much notice of each other at first… He was kind of the boy next door, you know? He and I traveled to Greensboro together from Boston and that’s when our relationship really grew! We bonded together during our travels and our time together in quarantine and luckily, our pairing was approved by a Species Survival Plan (SSP). We just have so much in common!

We both love water sports, particularly swimming and diving. Many of our dates take place in the water, in fact. Sometimes we are in it for a good workout, but other times we just like to splash around and have a little fun. We also both enjoy long waddles on the beach and fine seafood dinners. We are hoping to start a family in the future, but we’ll just have to wait to see what happens with that!

Tux and Apollo

Doesn’t he have a great butt???

Not all of my African penguin friends are as lucky as Apollo and I. In some parts of our native range, there just aren’t enough of us left to find suitable mates.

Even if we are lucky enough to find the right bird, we can’t always start families successfully. We’ve lost some of our nesting grounds. In the wild, we like to burrow in guano (or bird poop), but humans collected an awful lot of it over a century ago to use as fertilizer and we just haven’t recovered. It has led some of my friends to nest right out in the open where they are subjected to severe weather, like flooding and extreme heat, as well as predators.

Oil spills have also interfered with some of my friends’ plans to start a family. Some of their mates have been oiled and some, sadly, did not survive. Even if they are rehabilitated from an oil spill, studies have shown that their babies just don’t thrive.

And, I know we’re awesome and humans love to check us out, but in the wild, that has caused us problems as well. Sometimes our people friends accidentally collapse our burrows and our newlyweds in particular are sometimes a little skittish about starting a family with an audience around.

The humans aren’t all bad, though. Many of them are trying to save us. Efforts are underway to protect our breeding grounds, prevent oil spills and maintain the SANCCOB oil spill rehabilitation center for when they do occur, and increase food supply near our homes. That’s why we need your help. 100% of proceeds from Tuxedo Trot: Run for the Penguins go to conservation initiatives. Won’t you consider signing up for this event and give my wild penguin friends a bit more hope for their future?

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