Sinclair, the newest member of the Academy’s African penguin colony, was introduced to our exhibit for the first time this past Monday and is the first new bird to be brought into the renovated building. She arrived in San Francisco on November 17th in great condition from Tulsa Zoo in Oklahoma. Below is a picture of her being picked up from the cargo area of San Francisco Airport:
Sinclair was hatched at New England Aquarium on March 28th, 1991. We received Sinclair as part of our commitment to cooperatively manage this endangered species with other zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). African penguins are managed under what’s referred to as a Green-level Species Survival Plan (SSP). This means that the population of the species in captivity is considered sustainable for the long-term which, in more detail, means that we can maintain 90% genetic diversity within the group for at least 100 years. Breeding is prioritized to maintain or increase gene diversity largely through considerations of mean kinship, avoidance of inbreeding, and the degree of uncertainty within an individual’s pedigree.
As a general rule any new animals (whether fish or snakes or penguins, etc…) brought into the Academy are subject to a 30 day quarantine period where they are isolated from the rest of the collection to avoid transmission of any pathogens they might be carrying. Sinclair did wonderfully down in what has previously been referred to as “the Love-shack” with her recommended mate Agulhas (green-banded male). The two almost immediately started sharing their nest-box and were seen bowing and shaking their heads to each-other, all good signs for the formation of a strong pair bond.
So far Sinclair has been doing well on exhibit and is sporting a green wing-band on her left wing to match Agulhas. She has been holding her own with the rest of the colony yet is very mellow to work with. It was a lovely surprise to find that she has not been at all aggressive with the biologists who’ve been caring for her. We haven’t seen her in Agulhas’s nest yet but the two have been in close proximity and have even been braying together.
Hopefully the two will have a long and prolific future!