Good news at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in New York, a couple of same-sex penguins have just had their first chick. How is it possible you say? In fact, the two male Humboldt penguins named Elmer and Lima had been given an egg to incubate, the biological parents having a habit of breaking their eggs by accident.
1er Last January, the egg that Elmer and Lima cared for hatched and today the chick is doing well with its same-sex parents. They keep it warm and feed it.
In a statement, Ted Fox, the zoo’s director, said the chick continued to be brooded and cared for by Elmer and Lima, and that they were doing a good job.
An exemplary couple
According to reports, Elmer and Lima got together and built a nest for the mating season. Both males didn’t have an egg, but that didn’t stop them from defending their territory and behaving like a male-female pair. Seeing this, the zoo keepers decided to give them a dummy egg to see if they would take good care of it.
According to Fox’s explanations, there are pairs, when given a dummy egg, that will sit on the nest and leave the egg on its side without incubating it. Sometimes they fight over who is going to sit on them. Fox added that this is how good foster parents are judged, and Elmer and Lima were exemplary in caring for the egg. Zoo officials replaced the dummy egg with a fertile egg, and it hatched without a problem.
Not the first time
This isn’t the first time zoos have managed to turn penguins of the same sex into good foster parents. Couples of females and males have already managed to hatch eggs in zoos such as the Central Park Zoo in New York, or the Oceanogràfic Valencia aquarium in Spain.
According to specialists, it is not uncommon for penguins of the same sex to pair up. In penguins, the male and female share the same responsibilities when it comes to rearing the chicks. So there’s no reason a same-sex couple can’t be good parents.