Apparently, it’s not only human beings that have scoffed at the traditional conception of parenting roles in Denmark. The prevailing liberal views of the country have made a transition to the animal kingdom now as well.
A pair of homosexual emperor penguins at Odense Zoo are now the proud new adoptive parents of a little penguin fledgling following a successful hatching experiment.
The two male penguins, who were broody to the point that they sat on dead herrings due to a lack of an egg, assumed the egg-caring duties after the biological mother discarded her egg.
The female penguin in question had laid two eggs with two different fathers during the breeding period, a rare occurrence in emperor penguins.
She left the father of the first egg to sit on the egg alone, before abandoning the father of the second egg as well, leaving Odense Zoo with a unique problem.
“It’s very rare that female emperor penguins lay two eggs over one breeding season,” Nina Christensen, a zoologist at Odense Zoo, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. “Normally, they lay two eggs over three seasons, so she is extremely productive. But she just doesn’t want to hatch the eggs or raise the chicks.”
The zookeepers let the gay penguin couple adopt the egg after first giving them a fake egg to practise with during a trial period.
The two males were up to the task because the egg hatched and they are now taking good care of the little fledgling, which appears to be growing normally.
Emperor penguins rely heavily on their partners during the egg-sitting period, during which they place the egg on top of their feet before lowering themselves on top of it to keep it warm. Meanwhile, the other parent is charged with finding food before they switch places.
The solitary male that was first abandoned by the female is raising that egg alone, but can only do so because he is fed by the zoo staff, who now know what to do with abandoned eggs in the future.