Berlin zoo’s two homosexual penguins will soon have access to fatherhood. Last month, the staff gave them an egg to adopt, zoo spokesperson Maximilian Jaeger said on Friday.
"Both male penguins behave as exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said. The penguins Skipper and Ping always remain near the egg and protect it from other animals.
The couple arrived in Berlin in April from the Hamburg Zoo. The animals aged 10 clearly showed signs of desire to have an egg.
"They were trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said. After having seen this, the zoo staff entrusted them with an egg from the only female of the group that had failed in recent years to hatch her own. As soon as they received the egg, the penguins went to work. "We are not certain, however, that the egg has been fertilized. If it has been, it should hatch in about 55 days."
This is not the only recorded case of homosexual couples among penguins, both in captivity and in the wild. "Homosexual couples exist in their natural habitat," Jaeger said, adding that it was not so rare.
Other zoos have already been successful after having given an egg for adoption by a homosexual couple. This would be a first in Berlin.
The Brussels Times