Penguin pair Marama and Rocky are going to have to learn how to play it cool as parents fast, now that their adopted chick has hatched.
The same sex penguin couple at SEA LIFE London, who have been together for five years, have welcomed their newest family member.
A pair of female Gentoos, the aquarium thought they’d be good parents, while the tiny bundle of fluff has yet to be named.
Are these penguin parents on thin ice?
The pair of plucky penguins each have their individual parenting styles.
Marama, the older of the two, is more protective of the chick. Watching over her baby at all times of the day.
While Rocky, who is free-spirited and inquisitive, is keen to teach the new arrival everything they need to know about being a penguin.
The new parents have built the biggest nest in the colony and each perform shifts, giving the other a chance to swim and feed.
SEA LIFE general manager Graham McGrath said: ‘Marama and Rocky have taken to becoming parents like ducks to water – or should I say penguins.
‘Caring for a newborn is tough for anyone, from the sleepless nights to the constant feeding. Yet this wonderful pair of penguin parents are completely unflappable and seem to be taking it all in their stride.’
The egg was moved from its birth move to relieve her of the pressure of raising a pair of chicks.
Moreover, the Gentoo chick is the second to be born at Sea Life London this year as part of its conservation program.
‘They’re constantly together’
Roweena Kennedy is an aquarist at SEA LIFE London who made the call that the penguin pair were ready to become parents.
‘They’re constantly together, even outside of breeding season,’ she told Gay Star News.
‘This year, when we had the two chicks, to give them both the best chance and we knew they’d make excellent parents, so we thought the time was now.
‘It’s just such a nice story. They both came from New Zealand, and they met either there or in Birmingham on their way to us. And they decided they were the ones for each-other!’
Penguin Pride parade
While the SEA LIFE London couple welcome their new family member, another same sex penguin pair were embracing Pride month.
Ronnie and Reggie, a male same sex couple in ZSL London Zoo, celebrated Pride by paddling over to a parade sign that read: ‘Some Penguins Are Gay, Get Over It.’
Penguins mate for life, so whether partying under Pride banners or raising a chick, these couples won’t be breaking-up anytime soon.
Can penguins be gay?
For some people, ‘being gay,’ certainly isn’t as simple as ‘having gay sex.’
Sexual orientation and identity are not purely carnal; emotional and romantic connection plays a part, too, for many.
Many of us see ourselves as larger than simple biology. Identity is a social thing that we are self-aware of. Does this apply to penguins and other animals?
So, to ask if penguins can be gay in the human sense might be the wrong question here.
Why does it matter?
Many, many queerphobic people enforce the view that queerness is ‘unnatural.’
But the fact the queerness and same-sex-attraction is observable in the animal kingdom suggests otherwise.
As far as we know, homosexuality and queerness has been seen across more than 1,500 species.
But homophobia has only been observed only in one.