A gay penguin couple at Toronto Zoo are set to be separated, but it’s all for the survival of the species, say keepers.
African penguins Buddy and Pedro were brought to the zoo in the hope that they would mate with eligible females. But instead, the pair bonded with each other and keepers reported seeing the pair snuggling, calling to each other and displaying heterosexual courtship behaviour.
With African penguins classed as endangered, the zoo insists it cannot afford to let a season go by without passing on the pair’s genes. “If Pedro and Buddy weren’t genetically important, then we’d just let them do their thing,” said one curator.
In 2004 another gay penguin couple hit the headlines when Roy and Silo, a pair of chinstraps at New York’s Central Park zoo, adopted and raised a chick together. The two split in 2005 though, and while Roy has remained single, Silo has found another partner, a female called Scrappy.
Picture credit: Rex Features