Como Zoo’s oldest African penguin, Cupid, dies at 32

Como Zoos African penguin, Cupid. (Courtesy of (Supplied)

Members of the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory said goodbye to their beloved friend Cupid after he died Friday morning.

The 32-year-old African penguin had been suffering from an illness, and zoo staff said despite care from the veterinary team, "his quality of life continued to severely decline." They decided to humanely euthanize Cupid on Friday morning. 

The beloved penguin hatched at the Como Zoo on Valentine’s Day in 1991. Zoo staff described Cupid as an adventurous bird who enjoyed visiting the flower gardens and exploring the zoo with his penguin partner, BJ. He would greet his caretakers at the door every morning and was always the first bird to accept new zookeepers as his friends. 

"Most penguins are known to be charismatic and loveable, but Cupid was above and beyond what anyone would expect," his zookeepers said in a statement. "It should be no surprise that a bird who hatches on Valentine’s Day would be special, and he certainly was."

Cupid was also a dedicated educator, teaching interns and apprentices about penguin care and sharing his knowledge with visitors.

"Cupid leaves some big webbed footprints in all our hearts," his zookeepers said. 

The Como Zoo said they are waiting on test results to determine the cause of Cupid's illness.