A zoo in the Netherlands says that its gay, male African penguin couple has taken over the nest of a female same-sex couple within the enclosure to steal their eggs.
The penguins in question live at Dierenpark zoo in Amersfoort. There are 17 penguins in the enclosure and the male pairing is the dominant ‘power’ couple. Same-sex behavior has often been noted in penguins – a species that mates for life.
This isn’t the first time the pushy birds have attempted to take another couple’s egg. They stole an egg from another pair of birds last November but it failed to hatch. The other couple were quickly able to replace their lost egg.
On this new occasion, the gay penguins have hijacked the whole nest of the female couple in question. They take it in turn to guard the eggs while the other forages for food.
Sadly, because the eggs belong to a female couple, they are unlikely to have been fertilized, so will not hatch. (crying penguin face emoji!)
Zookeeper Sander Drost said, “After obtaining an egg to hatch last year, they even managed to hijack an entire nest this year at an unguarded moment. It turns out they are a very determined couple.”
Drost told RTV Utrecht, “Each couple in the enclosure have their own shelter but this couple has commandeered two.”
Drost says penguins breed twice a year, so the female penguins will likely build themselves a new nest soon.
If the birds do ever manage to hatch an egg – stolen or given to them – they will not be the first. At least two other zoos in the world have recorded instances of same-sex penguin couples hatching eggs.
The most recent was a female couple, Electra and Viola, in Valencia, Spain, who hatched an egg given to them by zookeepers in August after they appeared to be broody.