Gay penguin couple are set to become foster parents
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.