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'Exemplary parents': 2 gay penguins have adopted an abandoned egg in Berlin Zoo

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A gay penguin couple “kidnapped” a chick from a its parents at Odense Zoo in Denmark. The couples argue before zookeepers intervene and reunite the baby.
USA TODAY

Two gay penguins at the Berlin Zoo are soon to become parents after taking in an abandoned egg as their own.

Skipper and Ping, the two male emperor penguins, arrived in the Berlin Zoo in April as a couple. As soon as they arrived, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaeger, they showed immediate baby fever.

“They kept trying to hatch fish and stones,” Jaeger said to German news agency DPA. 

The zookeepers gave Skipper and Ping an egg from the only female penguin in the horde, who had failed to hatch her eggs for nearly two decades.

She’s also seemingly disinterested in hatching her eggs, the BBC reported.

Male emperor penguins warm the eggs in the wild, protecting their children from the elements after the mother penguin gives birth and hunts for food to replenish herself.

“The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg,” Jaeger told DPA on Friday.

It is unclear whether the egg had been fertilized; if so, it would take about two months – 55 days, to be exact – for the baby penguin to hatch.

Gay penguins are not uncommon both in the wild and in captivity. Two male penguins raising an egg as their own has happened before in captivity, but it is infrequent. 

Two same-sex penguins welcomed their newborn last year at Sydney’s Sea Life Aquarium, while the London Zoo’s famous Ronnie and Reggie raised their hatchling, Kyton, until he left the nest.

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

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