Two gay penguins have been fostering penguin chicks at San Francisco zoo because staff say they are “fantastic parents.”
Eduardo and Rio have been a couple for three years, according to KPIX 5, and are doing their part to make the zoo one of the world’s most successful breeding programs for Magellanic penguins in the world.
“Anytime we have an egg that’s really valuable for the species survival plan, we automatically put it with our foster same-sex couple, because they’re fantastic parents,” Anthony Augello, the assistant curator of birds and reptiles, told the local TV station.
Rio is the calmer penguin of the two, while Eduardo is “flamboyant” and “fabulous,” a penguin specialist told KPIX 5.
As a team, the couple make the best nests in the colony and have raised four chicks, hatching the eggs and then caring for and feeding their foster chicks.
Their youngest foster chick is currently in “finishing school,” but will soon join the rest of the colony in a yearly event at the zoo called “March of the Penguins.”
Augello said that humans can learn a lot about labels and acceptance from penguins.
A penguin doesn’t “put titles on things like we tend to do”
“No one’s sitting there putting parameters on this,” he said. “They just do what they do. No one’s judging. This whole colony gets along. No one’s treated any differently. So they don’t really put titles on things like we tend to do.”
San Francisco zoo’s “penguin island” has bred 205 penguin chicks since the area was renovated to accommodate penguins in 1984.
According to KPIX 5, San Francisco zoo said that penguin relationships are “just as varied and complicated as those of humans. The only difference is that they’re willing to live and let live.”
The animal kingdom is sexually diverse, and homosexual behaviour has been recorded in over 1,500 different species.