It seems all the world loves a good “gay” penguin story and this tale of penguin bromance is no exception. But, this heartwarming story has a slightly different twist than your usual gay penguin fare. The Penguin Post has learned that after six years of being together this pair of wannabe penguin dads, are actually going to be dads! Their instinctive wish to have a family after a half dozen years of building nests for naught has finally come true after keepers at their home in Madrid’s Fainia Zoo in Spain made a very special delivery of an egg to the stone, grass and moss nursery nest the penguins had carefully prepared. The unique male Gentoo penguins called Inca and Rayas have reportedly welcomed their future offspring into their home with open wings. Like clockwork, every spring since 2006 the pair have carefully constructed a nest together in preparation for their new addition, but as they were both male penguins an egg obviously never appeared. So sadly year after year they were forced to watch from the sidelines as other mating couples doted on their new additions. So when zookeepers needed to find a home for an extra egg this year they decided to give desperate dads their shot at fatherhood. And the delight of the keepers and Inca and Rayas the penguins natural paternal instincts kicked in straight away. Inca is carrying out the traditional ‘female’ duty of keeping the egg warm by sitting on it. Partner Rayas is standing guard over the nest, gobbling down fish to be regurgitated at a later date to feed the new hungry mouth. The imminent arrival of the baby penguin next month has, according to keepers, put Rayas a little on edge, but what couple (human or penguin) hasn’t experienced this? It also seems to have had the desired effect of keeping the relationship alive between the penguins. Yolanda Martin, who looks after the penguins at Faunia Park, emphasized that the penguins are not gay, just very good friends that have formed a strong bond. She said: ‘We wanted them to have something to stay together for – so we got an egg. Otherwise they might have become depressed.’ Twitter users have been flocking to congratulate the pair and the heart-warming story has provided a welcome break from the economic doom and gloom filling the recent Spanish news pages. It is not the first time that a pair of male penguins has been given an egg to look after. Last year in China two male penguins called Adam and Steve were given a young chick to care for because its mother was struggling to juggle caring for three chicks. Adam was even dressed in a tie and Steve a red blouse for a marriage ceremony. There was also Roy and Silo at New York’s Central Park zoo who were given a rejected egg after trying to hatch a stone. Meanwhile Canadian penguins Buddy and Pedro were put in separate enclosures at Toronto Zoo because keepers felt they were not making a contribution to the gene pool. It seems all the world’s press love reporting about “gay” penguins and this is no exception, although in these cases the penguins are not actually gay. They’re more like the best of friends, living cooperatively because they’re in the same enclosure. “When you put things in captivity, odd things happen,” says Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. “The way penguins work is they do get paired for a long time. Basically, the only other penguin they care about is their mate, so it’s important for them to find somebody who’s compatible, and if you don’t have a normal upbringing then it’s difficult to say how ‘normal’ they can be.” In the case of Inca and Rayas the duo has enthusiastically taken to the roles of prospective parents. Inca has taken on the “female” role, spending his days devotedly sitting on the egg, according to the paper. Rayas has taken the “male” role, guarding the nest and storing food in his beak as he prepares to feed the chick with regurgitated fish. “In birds, it doesn’t matter what sex you are. Both sexes are perfectly capable and absolutely necessary to raise a penguin bird,” McGowan said. “It’s not like mammals where only one sex can feed.” So, good luck Inca and Rayas, we can’t wait till the hatching.
Posts Tagged ‘Gay Penguins’
First came Roy and Silo and their children’s book, And Tango Makes Three. Then Buddy and Pedro made headlines as a “gay” penguin couple ( though the term doesn’t normally apply to animals) that was being separated by the Toronto Zoo. Now meet China’s same-sex penguin pair, 0310 and 067 — or as press likes to call them, Adam and Steve.
Adam and Steve have a pretty lush life at Harbin Polar Land in northern China. While zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo were quick to separate Buddy and Pedro for mating purposes, the Penguin Post has learned that keepers at Harbin Polar Land have embraced their eccentric penguins by not only giving them a same-sex wedding ceremony, but also providing them with their very own baby chick to care for. Adam and Steve had a history of stealing eggs from more-traditional couples during hatching season. So when keepers noticed a mother of recently hatched twins struggling with her parenting duties, they decided to give Adam and Steve the baby they were looking for. While it might seem, well, different for a penguin chick to have two male parents, in fact, all penguins are known to have natural instincts for parenting, as males and females equally share in the responsibility to incubate and care for their chicks, before and after they’re born. For this reason, keepers at Harbin Polar Land are confident that Adam and Steve’s chick will grow up to be just like its penguin peers.
The Penguin Post has learned that recent worldwide outcries against Toronto Zoo’s decision to separate two African penguins, (Buddy and Pedro), have prompted the zoo to agree to put the penguin bromance couple back together after they have mated. Buddy and Pedro formed “a close bond while part of a ‘bachelor flock’ at Pittsburgh’s National Aviary,” and they remained close friends after their transfer to Toronto Zoo. They were dubbed the “gay penguins” because they began to display “courtship and mating behavior towards each other,” though zoo keepers have indicated that their relationship was “not necessarily sexual.” Joe Torzsok, chair of the Toronto Zoo’s board, indicated that “It’s a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort.” Ya, maybe because they were moved to Toronto and had to stick together? You know…bro’s before-penguin-well you know. The zoo’s decision to separate the penguins is justified as they are trying to ensure the survival of the endangered animal, but still—national outcries against the separation have produced some hilarious commentary. Tom Mason, the curator of invertebrates and birds at Toronto Zoo, defends the decision to separate the pair by saying that the zoo must encourage mating because the African Penguin is on the edge of extinction. According to the Toronto Star although many people are poking fun at the zoo, all humor aside, others are still very critical of the decision. “It has been called unfair and heart-breaking. Others still are accusing the zoo of attempting to force the penguins into the “patriarchal sex-trade industry.” “If [Pedro and Buddy] weren’t genetically important, then we’d let them do their thing,” Mason said. So, as it stands now, they’ll get to do “their thing” and soon as they do that other “thing”.
The Penguin Post has learned that the planned separation of a “gay” penguin couple north of the border at the Toronto Zoo is causing a commotion both among zoologists and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media. As the Toronto Star is reporting, Buddy and Pedro have not only been inseparable, but have also shown signs of traditional mating behaviors. Bred in captivity, 10-year-old Pedro and Buddy, 20, came to Toronto from zoos in the U.S. as part of a popular African penguin exhibit which opened at the zoo in May, and formed a connection as members of a “bachelor flock,” according to the Star. “It’s a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort,” said Joe Torzsok, chair of the Toronto zoo board. But sadly, even though the pair frequently engage in “courtship and mating behaviors that females and males would do,” according to one keeper, zoo officials say they intend to separate the birds from each other and pair them with females for breeding, as African penguins are an endangered species. Same-sex companionship among penguins is actually quite common. In 2009, Z and Vielpunkt, two male Humboldt penguins at Germany’s Bremerhaven Zoo, became the proud parents of a healthy penguin chick hatched from an egg fertilized by another penguin couple. Another such pair at China’s Polarland Zoo was even given a wedding celebration, as Penguin Post reported last month.
UPDATE: Bill Rapley, executive director for conservation, education and wildlife at the Toronto Zoo, now tells the National Post that Pedro and Buddy’s separation will only last as long as it takes for them to inseminate their respective female partners. Once breeding season is up, Pedro and Buddy will be able to reunite.
These two male penguins are often seen with each other in the daytime and leave together every night. But the Penguin Post has learned that now the bromance between Buddy and Pedro has got keepers at Toronto Zoo in a flap about whether or not the two African penguins are gay. Keepers have noticed the duo are showing signs of mating behaviour, including braying and defending their territory. But the relationship is not destined to last as the zoo intends to break them up. As African penguins are endangered, the zoo must follow its species survival plan and pair them with females for breeding. Buddy, 20, and Pedro, 10, are part of the African penguin exhibit that opened at the zoo in May. They were bred in captivity in Toledo, Ohio, where they formed a connection as members of a bachelor flock. Their relationship, referred to as ‘pair bonding’ by the zoo, continued after they arrived in Canada. During the day, the zoo’s 12 penguins – six male and six female – swim and play together in their enclosure, which includes a pool with underwater windows for the public to view. But every night Buddy and Pedro pair off together. ‘They do courtship and mating behaviours that females and males would do,’ one keeper told the Toronto Star. As a mating call, the penguins make a braying sound, like a donkey. They defend their territory, preen each other and stand alone together. The keepers, who are aware of the bond, were surprised by the relationship. ‘This is all new for us,’ another keeper told the Star. Joe Torzsok, chair of the Toronto zoo board, added: ‘It’s a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort.’ Buddy and Pedro are not the first gay penguin couple to grace the world’s zoos. As part of an experiment in 2009, two male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo, incubated an egg together and raised the chick, named Tango, after she hatched. A children’s book, entitled ‘And Tango Makes Three’, about the chick and her parents, Roy and Silo, became a bestseller. Zoos in Japan, Germany and Sea World Orlando have also noted ‘pair bonding’ among penguins. Buddy and Pedro’s relationship follows research from the University of California, Berkeley in April, which found birds can form gay relationships for life. Scientists found that when raised in same-sex groups, more than half the birds paired up together. When females were then brought into the male group, five out of eight pairs of males ignored them and stuck with their male partner. Lead author Dr Julie Elie said: ‘Relationships in animals can be more complicated than just a male and a female who meet and reproduce. ‘My observations led me to this surprising result: same-sex individuals would also interact like male-female pairs.’
As told to the Penguin Post, a pair of male penguins who have been a long term couple have been given a wedding ceremony by their keepers at a Chinese Zoo. The African male penguins have turned out to be such a great parenting pair their keepers thought they deserved a reward and recognition and hold a ceremony for them. They were once given the cold shoulder at the wildlife park in China for stealing heterosexual penguin couples’ eggs to nest as their own. But after being allowed to nest with eggs rejected by other penguins the couple have become the zoo’s best penguin parents. Now keepers at Polarland Zoo in Harbin, north east China, have rewarded their devotion with a wedding day. One wore a tie and the other was dressed in a red blouse – a traditional Chinese bridal color – as they stepped into their icy wedding room to the music of the Wedding March. Keepers then served them their favorite dish for the occasion – spring fish. “They have been a good couple and deserved their reward,” said one keeper. We second the motion.
The Penguin Post has learned that the high male-to-female ratio in a colony of king penguins in Antarctica may explain why lots of males are pairing up at least temporarily, until they can find a more preferable (and reproductive) mate, according to the BBC News. In a study published in the journal Ethology, researchers found that more than 28 percent of the colony birds showed courtship displays to penguins of the same sex, with the majority being between males. Displays with potential partners included closing their eyes, stretching their heads skyward and moving them in a half-circle to take peeks at one another, BBC notes. Even so, only two pairs bonded by learning each other’s calls (an essential step in the penguin-pairing process) and both couples were later observed caring for eggs in male-female pairs. The researchers suggest both a high male-female ratio along with high testosterone levels in males may explain the homosexual “flirting.” However, that doesn’t explain female-female displays.
The king penguins are not alone. According to University of Oslo zoologist Petter Böckman, about 1,500 animal species are known to practice same-sex coupling, including bears, gorillas, flamingos, owls, salmon and many others. More than 130 bird species are known to engage in homosexual behaviors. In a recent study, the sex that partook in more same-sex canoodling for birds was the one with fewer parenting responsibilities (because they could).