Gay penguins adopt abandoned egg at Berlin zoo
A pair of male king penguins are well on the way to becoming parents after adopting an abandoned egg at Berlin Zoo
. Same-sex couple Skipper and Ping have been previously spotted trying to hatch everything from stones to small fish in what has been a long road to parenthood, but it now finally looks as though their dreams are going to come true - much to the delight of their keepers.
The happy couple were only able to start a family of their own after the sole female in the zoo’s group of six showed little to no interest in her egg, leaving it unguarded on the floor of her enclosure.
However, according to zoo employee Norbert Zahmel, Skipper and Ping didn’t need much encouragement before taking it under their wings.
As Zahmel explained in an interview with the BZ tabloid, "We just had to put it on the feet of one of the guys, and he already knew what to do."
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He went on to reveal that the zoo hasn’t welcomed a newborn chick since 2002 and that a "A successful hatching would be great."
Homosexuality is not uncommon in the animal kingdom, and Skipper and Ping would not be the first successful captive same-sex parents.
The BBC report that the penguins “at London Zoo joined in the city's Pride event this year, and Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium in Ireland even has a gay penguin majority, with eight out of its 14 gentoo penguins coupled up with a partner of the same sex.”
In a statement released to Berliner Zeitung, zoo spokesperson Maximilian Jäger revealed that the two love-birds are “exemplary parents,” and “take turns to keep the egg warm" by swapping it between their feet and nestling it under a specially designed egg pouch. In the wild, this pouch is vital in insulating the embryo from the harsh Antarctic winter, but in Berlin it acts more as a snug cubby hole.
Despite the celebrations, there may yet be an unwelcome twist to the tale of Skipper and Ping. Jäger has also admitted that the zoo do not actually know “if the egg was fertilised,” which could mean that all their efforts are for nought.
BZ newspaper estimated that, if a baby is indeed on the way, that it should be due on or around the 4th of September. Until then, we can only hope for good news.