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Your morning adorable: Penguins in love

April 18, 2009 | 10:37 am


Squawk and Milou, two male penguins at New York's Central Park Zoo, began to exhibit courtship behavior in 2004 -- but they were hardly the first same-sex penguin couple the zoo had seen. 

Another pair, male chinstrap penguins named Roy and Silo, refused the companionship of female penguins but seemed determined to become penguin parents anyway.  The New York Times reported:

At one time, the two seemed so desperate to incubate an egg together that they put a rock in their nest and sat on it, keeping it warm in the folds of their abdomens, said their chief keeper, Rob Gramzay. Finally, he gave them a fertile egg that needed care to hatch. Things went perfectly. Roy and Silo sat on it for the typical 34 days until a chick, Tango, was born. For the next two and a half months they raised Tango, keeping her warm and feeding her food from their beaks until she could go out into the world on her own. Mr. Gramzay is full of praise for them.

''They did a great job,'' he said. He was standing inside the glassed-in penguin exhibit, where Roy and Silo had just finished lunch. Penguins usually like a swim after they eat, and Silo was in the water. Roy had finished his dip and was up on the beach.

The Central Park Zoo has also seen Georgey and Mickey, two female Gentoo penguins who also tried to incubate eggs together.

And a Chinese zoo came under fire late last year for removing a same-sex penguin couple from the rest of the colony after they repeatedly tried to replace male-and-female penguin couples' eggs with rocks, taking the eggs to incubate themselves.  When visitors complained, zookeepers gave the couple two eggs that had been laid by another penguin.  Result?  One keeper reported that the two 3-year-old males "have turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo," according to the Daily Mail.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Nicole Bengiveno / New York Times

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