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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 11, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 46
Gay penguins celebrate 10th anniversary together
Section One
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Gay penguins celebrate 10th anniversary together

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Two same-sex penguins are celebrating their 10th anniversary together. Bremerhaven Zoo officials in Germany say that the affection Dotty and Zee, both male, show to each other has drawn the attention and admiration of many.

According to accounts from the zookeepers at Bremerhaven, Dotty and Zee quickly took a liking to each other after they were first introduced 10 years ago. Every year since then, zookeepers say, the two would settle down and build a nest to attempt and start a family.

At the time, however, zookeepers didn't know they were both male. So after several failed efforts to produce offspring, tests were conducted to determine what was causing their reproductive problems. A simple DNA test administered by the zookeepers confirmed the reason behind their infertility: Dotty and Zee were of the same gender.

In an effort to encourage reproduction and increase the Humboldt penguin population, Bremerhaven Zoo officials split the couple up. However, they say, the two penguins stayed monogamous. The Gay penguin couple did not switch partners even for the sake of reproduction.

The Humboldt penguin population has been in trouble for some time now, say officials. The population is harmed in two ways: by displacing the cold current of water running from the Antarctic to the equator along the west coast of South America with warmer, less food-rich water, and by severe storms that can wash out the nesting colonies.

To give them a chance at parenthood, Bremerhaven Zoo facilitated that Dotty and Zee adopting an egg in which the two penguins nursed until it hatched.

Zoo officials say that more than 450 species of animals display Gay behavior.

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