Greensboro Science Center animal keepers play matchmakers for penguins

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- These days, a lot of people use dating websites to try and find their perfect match.

But humans aren’t the only species that need a little extra help.

It turns out the colony of African penguins at the Greensboro Science Center need matchmakers too.

Because African penguins are endangered, they are paired based on genetics.

To help new relationships develop, animal keepers arrange for couples to spend quality time together outside the Carolina SciQuarium exhibit.

“Depending on the individuals, we can start trying to match them together around March. That way they're together for a few months before they hit the breeding season,” said Shannon Fletcher, the animal keeper for African penguins.

Breeding season is from July through January.

Fletcher says the goal is to breed genetically strong penguins, like the chick that hatched at the Greensboro Science Center in October.

“It has very valuable genetics, so we hope the chick will be able to continue its genes by breeding in the future -- whether it's at our facility or another,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher says the chick has not been named yet, because they still need to do a blood test to find out its gender. That test is expected to be done in the next few weeks.

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