News (World)

Sydney’s gay penguin parents are trying to hatch their second egg together

Sphen and Magic are a gay penguin couple shown here hanging out on the ice together.
Sphen and MagicPhoto: YouTube screencapture

Sphen and Magic, a gay penguin couple at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium who hatched an egg last year, have been given a second egg by zookeepers with the hopes of adding to their fine feathered family.

Zookeepers gave them the egg when they noticed the pair making a nest (called a “clutch”) right on time for the spring/summer mating season. It’s unclear though whether their egg is fertilized, but zookeepers are watching with great interest.

Related: The London Zoo’s gay penguin couples are celebrating Pride this year

The zoo’s penguin supervisor Tish Hannan told, “They have the neatest and largest nest in the colony and when we noticed that another couple were struggling to incubate two eggs at the same time, we made the decision to foster the second egg to the power couple of the colony.”

Hannan also reports that the couple’s first chick, Baby Sphengic (a mash-up of Sphen and Magic’s names), had “an excellent start to life under their care.” She called Sphengic “a bundle of energy and very loud.”

“She’s matured nicely,” Hannan added, “but still quite unsure as to what all the adults are doing this breeding season.”

If Sphen and Magic’s egg is fertilized, then Sphengic may have a sibling in just a few weeks.

Of course, Sphen and Magic aren’t the first pair of same-sex penguin parents ever to grace a zoo. There are also Thelma and Louise, two lesbian penguins raising a chick together in a New Zealand zoo; Eduardo and Rio, the surrogate penguin dads at the San Francisco zoo; and Inca and Rayas, a pair of Gentoo penguin parents at Madrid’s Faunia Park Zoo.

Some zoos have even started celebrating their same-sex penguin couples as a way to gain public interest: The London Zoo had their gay penguins celebrate Pride this year and the Heythrop Zoo in Oxfordshire helped throw a lavish English countryside wedding for their same-sex penguin couple, Ferrari and Pringle, earlier this year.

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