A gay penguin couple are set to become parents after being given an abandoned egg to adopt. Staff at Berlin Zoo noticed that the two male emperors, Skipper and Ping, were trying to hatch stones and fish so gave them an egg from a female penguin last month after she was unable to hatch her own eggs for consecutive years.
Zoo keeper Norbert Zahmel said: "We just had to put it in front of one of the males. He immediately knew what to do. This is the first time we have tried to have a same-sex penguin couple incubate an egg. Both are looking after the egg in an exemplary manner." The pair are now said to be staying close to each other and protecting the egg from other penguins. Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaeger told dpa that it is unclear whether the egg is fertilized, but if it is, then it would take 55 days for a baby penguin to emerge. If all goes well the pair are expected to hear the pitter patter of tiny webbed feet in September.
Skipper and Ping, who transferred from Hamburg Zoo last April, are the first same-sex couple to incubate an adopted egg in Berlin, but not the first same-sex penguins in the world. In July, Sea Life in London saw their first lesbian penguins hatch an adopted egg from a single penguin mother who was struggling with the pressures of nurturing two chicks. And at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, same-sex penguin couple Silo and Roy have raised a penguin baby together. While at Ireland’s Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, the majority of the penguins are gay, with eight of the 14 gentoo penguins coupled with a partner of the same sex.
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