A same-sex penguin couple has been entrusted with an adopted newborn chick at a London aquarium.
In a first for the venue, the pair was blessed with a newborn after patiently incubating the egg.
The female gentoo couple, Marama and Rocky, have been together for five years and adopted the egg after demonstrating to Sea Life’s team that they would make good parents.
The egg was moved from its birth mother to relieve her of the pressure of raising two chicks. The gender of the chick is not yet known, and the aquarium has not yet named it.
General manager Graham McGrath said: “Marama and Rocky have taken to becoming parents like ducks to water – or should I say penguins.
“Caring for a newborn is tough for anyone, from the sleepless nights to the constant feeding, yet this wonderful pair of penguin parents are completely unflappable and seem to be taking it all in their stride.”
Marama is the older of the pair and naturally more protective of the chick, while Rocky – who is free-spirited and inquisitive – is keen to teach the new arrival everything it needs to know about life as a penguin.
The new parents have built the biggest nest in the colony and each perform shifts, giving the other a chance to swim and feed.
Penguins are said to mate for life, and same-sex pairings have been observed both in the wild and in captivity.
The gentoo chick is the second to be born at Sea Life London this year, as part of its conservation programme.
They are not they only LGBT penguins in London; a pair of male birds are a popular attraction at London Zoo. Ronnie and Reggie have been romantically involved since 2014, and recently posed alongside a Pride Month banner in their enclosure. They live at London Zoo alongside fellow same-sex couples Nadja and Zimmer, and Dev and Martin.