Coast KZN

14 Jul 2020

Ushaka’s African Penguin couple make relationship status official

Northglen News Picture: Donatello and Cyclops. PHOTO: SAAMBR/Facebook

TWO African Penguins at uShaka Sea World, Donatello and Cyclops, are a couple at last!  Both Donatello and Cyclops were admitted to uShaka Sea World after they were stranded on different KZN beaches near the end of 2018.

“They were both about four months old when they were admitted and are now in their second year. Cyclops had an injury to her left flipper and is blind in her left eye. Donatello was thin, dehydrated and exhausted,” said the South African Association for Marine Biological Research’s Ann Kunz.

Although they are almost the same age, Cyclops is a delicate penguin and only weighs 2.5kg, while Donatello weighs a hefty 4.3kg.  Without a partner of his own, or a fixed nesting site, Donatello would spend his days hijacking the nesting material (stones) from the other penguin’s nests. He would then place this material at random sites throughout the rookery.

He recently started placing the stolen stones  in the same spot each day, in the open and a short distance away from the standard nesting boxes.

“The staff decided to purchase a nesting box which was then positioned in the same spot he had chosen to deposit his nesting material. The unconventional nesting box is a standard cat bed with modifications to accommodate a pair of penguins,” said Kunz.

With a completed nest, Donatello had no further work to do to woo Cyclops as she immediately moved in.  They are now never apart and it is Cyclops who follows Donatello wherever he goes.