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‘Gay’ penguin couple delighted over opportunity to be parents

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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MADRID — A same-sex aquatic bird couple in Spain has been allowed to adopt an egg to nurture.

Inca and Rayas, a pair of Gentoo penguins at Madrid’s Faunia Park Zoo, have suffered from repeated heartache for a long time according to zookeeper Yolanda Martin. The pair had carefully built and lovingly looked after six nests, but sadly, those nests remained empty.

Courtesy Faunia Park Zoo

Inca sitting on his egg while Rayas keeps watch.

Martin noted that Inca and Rayas had longingly watched the other penguin couples welcome their little chicks into the world, and finally, after zookeepers took pity on them, the presumed gay birds now appear delighted to finally have been given the chance to enjoy “parenthood.”

According to Martin, Inca has taken on the “female” role of incubating the donated egg (that is due to hatch in June), and sits loyally on his child to be, while even turning down the chance to get his feathers wet with a refreshing swim.

Meanwhile, his “husband” Rayas keeps a watchful eye on their nest and chases off any potential predators or gawkers.

“We wanted them to have something to stay together for — so we got an egg. Otherwise they might have become depressed,” said Martin.

Inca and Rayas aren’t the first gay penguins to be given a helping hand by zookeepers. Time magazine reported last December on another gay penguin couple.

The zookeepers at Harbin Polar Land Zoo in northern China embraced their eccentric penguins by not only giving them a same-sex wedding ceremony but also providing them with their very own baby chick to care for.

The pair, named Adam and Steve had a history of stealing eggs from the “straight” couples during hatching season, so when keepers noticed that a mother of recently hatched twins was struggling with her parenting duties, they decided to give Adam and Steve the baby they were looking for, according to Time.

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