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Pueblo Zoo mourns loss of African penguin

Mongo was oldest in North America
Posted at 4:22 PM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 00:36:33-04

PUEBLO — Staff and guests at the Pueblo Zoo mourned the passing of Mongo, a long-term resident.

At 38 1/2 years old, Mongo was the oldest living African penguin on record at all AZA accredited zoos in North America, which the zoo calls "quite a feat" given his lifetime of health challenges.

Due in part to hormone issues, Mono had problems with the molting process. It often left his feathers in disarray, and caused him to look older than his years.

Mongo arrived in Pueblo in 1992, and was one of the original penguins to inhabit the zoo's penguin exhibit in the EcoCenter. Long life spans are not uncommon in the Pueblo colony.

Mongo's long-time partner at the exhibit, Tess, was the longest living penguin at 40 years old at the time of her passing in 2015. Mongo formed a late in life partnership with Sallie, also one of the colony's original penguin's, after Tess passed away.

Mongo fathered nine chicks, and has more than 100 descendants around the globe. Zookeeper Sue Greer, who also worked with Mongo in Baltimore when he was younger, says, “We can be proud that Mongo has made a significant contribution to the African penguin population.”

African penguins are endangered, and Pueblo Zoo works with the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) to help with its population.