Sunday 02 April 2023

A zoo soap opera: Gay penguins steal nest with eggs from lesbian couple

The would-be fathers. Photo: Dierenpark Amersfoort

A gay penguin couple at Amersfoort’s Dierenpark zoo, who hit the international headlines last year when they stole an egg to hatch, have gone a step further this year by stealing the complete nest of another couple – who happen to be a lesbian duo.

Last year the same African penguin couple took an egg from another penguin family, ‘acquiring’ it at a moment when no-one was looking.That egg failed to produce a chick and the couple remained childless – and will probably remain so, for now at least.

The couple are taking in it in turns to sit on the eggs and keep them warm, while the other forages for food. However, the eggs are unlikely to hatch because they may not have not been fertilised, given they were laid by the lesbian couple, says zoo keeper Sander Drost.

Drost says the would-be fathers are a dominant couple within the 17-strong group in penguin enclosure. ‘Each couple in the enclosure have their own shelter but this couple has commandeered two,’ he told RTV Utrecht earlier this year.

Penguins breed twice a year and the ousted females will probably build a new nest shortly, the zoo told

Homosexuality is fairly common in penguins and there have been various other reports of them fostering chicks.

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