Gay penguin cou­ple are set to be­come fos­ter par­ents

The Daily Telegraph - - World News - By Jonathan Pearl­man in Syd­ney

TWO male pen­guins in Syd­ney have de­vel­oped an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship and been given a fos­ter egg to raise af­ter aquar­ium staff ob­served the cou­ple build­ing a nest and con­cluded they would make “amaz­ing par­ents”.

The two, named Magic and Sphen, formed a bond be­fore this year’s breed­ing sea­son at the Sea Life Syd­ney Aquar­ium. The pair of gen­too pen­guins were of­ten seen bow­ing at each other and Sphen re­port­edly gave Magic a stone – tan­ta­mount to a pro­posal.

Tish Hannan, the aquar­ium’s penguin su­per­vi­sor, said: “We’d go over there and Magic and Spehn would be bow­ing to each other, which is a gen­too way of say­ing they love each other.”

When staff re­alised the pair were pre­par­ing a real nest, they gave them a fake egg to prac­tise their par­ent­ing skills and were then given a real one from a cou­ple that had two.

Ms Hannan said pen­guins in the wild can of­ten only suc­cess­fully raise one chick and the ini­tial par­ents “didn’t even no­tice” that an egg was miss­ing.

“Magic and Sphen im­me­di­ately knew ex­actly what it was and started in­cu­bat­ing it and we’re re­ally, re­ally happy,” Ms Han­non told ABC News.

Magic and Spehn are the first penguin cou­ple in Aus­tralia to be given a fos­ter egg to raise, but same-sex re­la­tion­ships be­tween the species are com­mon.

A same-sex pair at Wing­ham Wildlife Park, in Kent, also raised a penguin that had been aban­doned by its ini­tial par­ents in 2014.

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