Two gay emperor penguins living at Denmark’s Odense Zoo have just become parents. Zookeepers said this week that an attempt to get the two male homosexual birds to hatch an abandoned egg had been successful.
The couple had reportedly previously been sitting on dead fish because they weren’t able to produce an egg.
Zoologist Nina Christensen explained that a female penguin abandoned the extra egg because she had produced two during the breeding season with two different fathers.
Christensen told reporters from the Ekstra Bladet tabloid, “It’s very rare that female emperor penguins lay two eggs over one breeding season. Normally, they lay two eggs over three seasons, so she is extremely productive. But she just doesn’t want to hatch the eggs or raise the chicks.”
Caretakers said they first experimented by giving the gay males a fake egg before replacing it with the real one. The egg has now hatched, and the couple are said to be taking care of the fledgling as the animals normally would.
Experts note that emperor penguins must work carefully in pairs to successfully produce offspring in the wild, as the parents take turns shielding the egg and going off in search of food.