Same-Gender Penguins Married in Official Ceremony

The two males are the best parents in a Chinese zoo

By on 29 Jan 2009, 18:01 GMT
Two somewhat troubled penguins at a Chinese zoo drew international attention on the place with their almost-nightly escapades into the nests of other penguin couples. The two males always tried to steal eggs that had not yet hatched, to keep them for their own, and they worked as a team to do it. Tired of their pushiness, zoo caretakers isolated them from the rest of the colony, so as to prevent any damage to the general hatching process. Abandoned females were also one of their favorite targets, as one of the penguins ran interference, while the other made the egg disappear.

Finally, because visitors urged them to do so, caretakers agreed to entrust the couple with an egg from a couple that proved to have low parental skills. The two surprised everyone by taking care of the baby in the best way possible, even making regular couples bow their heads. Both males took turns in ensuring that the egg would properly hatch, and then made sure that the child was safely outside of harm's way.

In recognition of their impressive achievement, the zoo management decided to award the animals with a highly unusual award, namely they threw them a big wedding, just like in the “fairy” tales, to be more precise. The animals were properly dressed for the occasion, though a bit on the indecent side. One of them wore a red blouse that nearly covered him up, while the other was given a red bow tie. Their destinies were united under a flowery arch, and the ceremony ended in a big feast, where they had plenty of fish to share around with their fellow penguins, who came by to wish them well in their new life.

China's Polarland Park zoo was home to this bizarre occurrence, but the staff there now seems to be able to deal with the idea, and even found a few logical explanations for the penguins' behavior. Among those ideas, they say that the animals' drive to become parents is not diminished by the fact that they are of the same-gender inclination. “Despite the fact they can’t have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,” said a zoo employee.

Opinions on the wedding are split among people who can take a joke and other religious fanatics who consider this an affront to the sacred institution of marriage. However, the zoo attendants say that the ceremony was purely symbolic, and that they had no intention of making anyone feel uncomfortable.

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A picture of the two newlyweds at a Chinese zoo
   A picture of the two newlyweds at a Chinese zoo