Gay Penguin Couple Poised To Become Parents After Adopting Egg At Berlin Zoo

A same-sex penguin couple at the Berlin Zoo are now on their way to becoming parents after adopting an abandoned egg as their own, CNN.

The sea birds, Skipper and Ping, have been keen on having a chick of their own since arriving at the zoo, and now they've finally got their chance at becoming the fathers they've always wanted to be.

The two male king penguins came to the zoo together from another enclosure in Hamburg way back in April.


According to zoo spokesman Maximilian Jäger, the pair's bond was undeniable and have inseparable since moving to their new enclosure. They also showed "immediate baby fever" as soon as they arrived, already itching to become co-dads.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," he explained.

Their wishes finally came true in July after the zoo discovered an abandoned egg in need of some nurturing.

The egg had been abandoned by a king penguin mother, the only female inside the enclosure, who had spent years trying and failing to hatch eggs herself. She had been showing little interest in her eggs recently, and the zoo hasn't had a chick since 2002.

"A successful hatching would be great," zookeeper Norbert Zahmel told Berliner Zeitung.

For Skipper and Ping, the connection to their precious new egg was instant.

Unsplash | Skyler H

"We just had to put it in front of one of the males," Zahmel said. "He immediately knew what to do."

The 10-year-old penguins have apparently been taking their co-parenting roles very seriously and have been "acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg" by nestling it on their feet beneath a flap of belly skin.

It's unclear when the egg will hatch, and zoo staffers aren't sure whether it's fertilized or not.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it typically takes 55 days for a king penguin to incubate an egg. Each parent typically takes a turn of 6 to 18 days brooding before rotating out with their partner.

Officials estimate that if all goes well with incubation and the egg is in fact fertile, Skipper and Ping should become proud parents by early September ⁠— and the zoo will have its first penguin ever born to two fathers.

Right now, the dads-to-be are continuing to protect their precious egg against jealous rivals inside the zoo.

To celebrate the news, Jäger said zoo staff are giving the penguins "as much calm as possible," which he says is essential to ensuring a successful hatch.

Skipper and Ping aren't the first pair of gay penguins to have graced a modern zoo.

In June, the ZSL London Zoo held a celebration for longtime lovers Ronnie and Reggie with a banner that read, "Some penguins are gay. Get over it." The pair become parents in 2015 after successfully hatching an abandoned egg.

Other notable gay penguin couples include Sphen and Magic at a Sydney zoo, who hatched their baby Sphengic, and Silo and Roy who found love in a hopeless place at the Central Park Zoo back in 1998. They, too, hatched an egg, but their left left something to be desired after Silo left Roy for a female penguin named Scrappy.

h/t: CNN

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