Two male penguins at Berlin Zoo have been caring for an abandoned egg since July in their long quest to become parents.
According to the spokesman Maximilian Jäger, the same-sex couple, who are called Skipper and Ping, are keen to have a chick of their own, and have even been known to try to hatch fish and stones.
He said that the sole female of the species at the zoo had abandoned an egg and the two king penguins adopted it later. Both Skipper and Ping are now behaving like model parents, taking turns to keep the egg warm by nestling it on their feet under a flap of belly skin.
The duo are now doing their best to protect their precious charge from jealous rivals, after a little encouragement from their human guardians.
Zookeeper Norbert Zahmel said,
We just had to put it on the feet of one of the guys, and he already knew what to do.
Zahmel also added that the female in the group of six king penguins has shown little interest in her eggs recently, and the zoo hasn’t had a chick since 2002. Thus, a successful hatching would surely be great!
But the heartache for Skipper and Ping may not be over yet. Jager says,
The thing is, we don’t know if the egg was fertilised. If they are lucky, Berlin Zoo will welcome its first chick born to a same-sex couple in early September.
About Gay Penguins
- The 10-year-old pair moved to Berlin from Hamburg’s Hagenbeck Zoo in April, and have been inseparable ever since
- Gay penguins of either sex are nothing new, and are to be found both in the wild and in captivity
- Those at London Zoo joined in the city’s Pride event this year, and Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium in Ireland even has a gay penguin majority, with eight out of its 14 gentoo penguins coupled up with a partner of the same sex
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