The Maryland Zoo is saddened to announce that Boss, the Zoo’s oldest African penguin, was humanely euthanized today. He was 34 years old.

“Boss became lethargic a few weeks ago, and was being closely monitored by the Penguin Coast care team and Zoo veterinary staff. At such an old age, his health was in gradual decline,” said Jen Kottyan, avian collection and conservation manager.

Boss was the second oldest male penguin in the North American African penguin population according to the African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The median life expectancy for male African penguins in human care is 22 years, which is a tribute to both the daily care and veterinary attention he received at the Zoo. During his life he produced 30 offspring, and was a grandfather and great-grandfather to many more penguins, including Zoo Animal Ambassador Sally and a recently hatched chick.

Boss hatched on October 12, 1985, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He came to The Maryland Zoo in 1990 and lived in the Rock Island habitat until 2014 when the Zoo opened Penguin Coast. The Zoo is currently home to more than 90 African penguins, including eight new chicks.

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