Penguin sprinkling should be kept to a bare minimum, at least until Copperlode cops a decent drenching. PICTURE: DAVID CAIRD
Penguin sprinkling should be kept to a bare minimum, at least until Copperlode cops a decent drenching. PICTURE: DAVID CAIRD

Gay penguins at zoo wait to be dads

TWO homosexual emperor penguins at Berlin Zoo are preparing for the patter of tiny feet after zoo staff gave them an egg to adopt last month.

"The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaeger said on Friday.

The two soon-to-be parents, Skipper and Ping, were staying close by each other and protecting the egg from the other penguins.

Skipper and Ping came to Berlin from Hamburg's zoo in April. The two 10-year-old emperor penguins had been showing clear signs that they wanted an egg for a while.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said. After watching them do this, the zoo staff gave them a real egg from the only female in the group, who had tried and failed to hatch her eggs for several years in a row.

Once they were given the real egg, the two gay penguins got straight to work. "We're not sure if the egg has been fertilised," Jaeger explained. If it has been, then it should take around 55 days for the hatchling to emerge.

This is not the only case of homosexual penguins in captivity or in the wild.

"Same-sex penguin couples exist in their natural habitat as well," Jaeger said, adding that it wasn't even unusual.

Other zoos also have same-sex male penguin couples, who have successfully hatched eggs before. However, it would be a first for Berlin.


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