Unlikely Penguin Couple Make Great Parents

The Penguin Post has learned that staff at the Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent, England had tostep in after the baby penguin’s mother had to leave the egg because the father refused to help her incubate it. The staff then turned to two male Humboldt penguins, Jumbs and Kermit, who were given the egg to incubate, which they did and the egg hatched a month ago. Park owner Tony Binskin said: “These two have so far proven to be two of the best penguin parents we have had yet.”

Kermit, left, and Jumbs incubated the egg and are rearing the chick

Kermit, left, and Jumbs incubated the egg and are rearing the chick

Jumbs and Kermit were first seen pairing up in 2012, leaving two females without mates. “While it was nice to see two of our birds pair up, it actually meant that we were left with not two but four birds unable to biologically reproduce within our collection,” Mr Binskin said. With Humboldt penguins thought to be declining in number,  the park brought in two new males for breeding. But each time female Isobel lays an egg, her partner Hurricane refused to help out and sit on it.

The Baby Penguin was born on April 12th

The Baby Penguin was born on April 12th


Mr Binskin’s wife Jackie who works with the penguins said Hurricane was a “very inconsiderate partner who is happy to get Isobel pregnant”, then “seems to think that his job is done”.  Sounds familiar.  An egg from the pair was given to Jumbs and Kermit last year, but failed to hatch.  Isobel laid another egg in March, but was again with Hurricane being an absentee father, who forced to leave the egg to find food.

Given the situation the egg was to Jumbs and Kermit, and hatched on 12 April. There have been previous reports of exclusive male-to-male pairings among penguins, and some have reared chicks. Mr Binskin said: “While in the wild same sex pair bonding often results in no result other than eliminating those two animals from the breeding population of that species, in captivity it can have greatly positive effects. “We are still very much starting our breeding efforts with this species, and this is only our second year of breeding, but having such good surrogate parents available should we need them is a huge bonus for us.”  Jumbs and Kermit are more than happy to help.


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