Canadian Zoo Wants to Break Up Gay Penguins

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday November 10, 2011

It looks like it's just as hard to be with the one you love for gay penguins as it is for some humans. Buddy and Pedro have been spending a significant amount of time together, but will be separated and placed with female penguins in hopes that they will breed.

The cute couple resides in the Toronto Zoo where they sleep together, protect their turf and make mating calls. Zoo officials claim that the African penguins were starting a courtship and began mating behavior that would typically be seen between a male and a female penguin, according to an article by the New York Daily News.

The Toronto Zoo officials, however, want to put Buddy and Pedro with the opposite sex because their species is rare.

"It's a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort,'' the chair of the Toronto Zoo board, Joe Torzsok, told the Toronto Star.

Thankfully, the Toronto zookeepers are somewhat understanding. After Buddy and Pedro mate with females they will be placed back together once again, where they can spend their days standing side-by-side and perhaps adopt an egg.

Buddy and Pedro aren't the first gay penguins to be in the spotlight. A zoo in Bremerhaven, Germany experienced a similar situation in 2005 when three pairs of male penguins were showing signs of mating and bonding behavior. Officials eventually introduced them to female penguins, since their species was endangered as well.

Back in the summer of 2009, at the same German zoo, two male penguins started to look after an abandoned egg. After spending time together and taking care of the egg, it eventually hatched and Z and Vielpunkt continued to raise the baby bird. Another pair of male penguins named Roy and Silo, from the Central Park Zoo in New York City, also adopted an abandoned egg, hatched it and raised the chick.

It seems that love isn't as strong in the animal kingdom as you may think. A six year relationship came to a sudden end for a pair of gay penguins at a San Francisco zoo, the The Associated Press reported. Harry and Pepper were happily partnered until a female penguin named Linda came along. Harry left Pepper to hatch and raise the eggs by himself, while Harry moved to Linda's territory.

Penguins have been the subject of gay relationships for sometime now. In 2005 Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell wrote "And Tango Makes Three" - a children's book that tells the story of a family of penguins with two fathers. The story was subjected to controversy as it topped the list of library books the public objected to the most, the the AP stated.