news release.Elmer was born in 2016, and Lima was born in 2019. The two are part of the zoo’s 28-bird penguin colony.The same-sex foster pair is a first for the zoo.
Previously, the zoo has relied on such foster couples to incubate eggs. At least two breeding couples at the zoo have a history of accidentally breaking their fertilized eggs, so to give the egg a better chance, the zoo gives the couple a dummy egg and gives the real egg to a pair that may have more success in incubating.
Elmer and Lima paired up in the fall and the penguin team decided to test their fostering skills. “Some pairs, when given a dummy egg, will sit on the nest but leave the egg to the side and not incubate it correctly, or they’ll fight for who is going to sit on it when,” zoo director Ted Fox said in the release. “That’s how we evaluate who will be good foster parents — and Elmer and Lima were exemplary in every aspect of egg care.”He said that the team discovered a fertilized egg in late December and decided to give it to Elmer and Lima to incubate.