My Two Dads: Gay Penguin Pair Step in to Rear Chick


Who did an English zoo call upon when a deadbeat-dad penguin wouldn't help his mate incubate a freshly laid egg? Jumbs and Kermit, the resident same-sex male Humboldt penguin couple at Kent, England's Wingham Wildlife Park.

Penguins incubate eggs by standing on them, for really long periods of time, as the egg needs more than a month's time to hatch. Typically the mom and dad trade incubation shifts, but in this case Isobel had the bad luck (or bad judgement -- we can never know) of choosing Hurricane for a partner.

Hurricane, it seems, does not have the best reputation in the park for being able to handle the whole follow-through fatherhood thing. He won't sit on new eggs, no matter how many Isobel lays.

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Given such a stormy marriage, it's no surprise Isobel had to leave her latest egg, when useless Hurricane would not pitch in.

Enter Jumbs and Kermit (the name works just as well for penguins as for frogs). The couple first paired in 2012, and although an egg entrusted to the pair last year didn't hatch, this year the one Isobel handed off did, on April 12.

By all accounts the couple have proven to be terrific, vigilant parents of the newly born chick.

Humboldt penguins are declining in numbers, so while at first blush it might seem that male-to-male pairings would not be very helpful in increasing their numbers, they can nonetheless make a positive impact as surrogate parents, zoo officials noted.

via BBC News

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