Gay penguins steal eggs from straight couples
A couple of gay penguins are attempting to steal eggs from straight birds in an effort to become "fathers", it has been reported.
Last Updated: 2:06PM GMT 27 Nov 2008
There are known to be several gay penguin couples in zoos across the world Photo:
The two penguins have started placing stones at the feet of parents before waddling away with their eggs, in a bid to hide their theft.
But the deception has been noticed by other penguins at the zoo, who have ostracised the gay couple from their group. Now keepers have decided to segregate the pair of three-year-old male birds to avoid disrupting the rest of the community during the hatching season.
A keeper at Polar Land in Harbin, north east China explained that the gay couple had the natural urge to become fathers, despite their sexuality.
"One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs. Despite this being a biological impossibility for this couple, the natural desire is still there," a keeper told the Austrian Times newspaper.
"It's not discrimination. We have to fence them separately, otherwise the whole group will be disturbed during hatching time," he added.
There are numerous examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, but gay penguins have captured the public's attention more than any other species.
A German zoo provoked outrage from gay lobby groups after attempting to mate a group of gay male penguins with Swedish female birds who were flown in especially to seduce them. But the project was abandoned after the males refused to be "turned", showing no interest in their would-be mates.
In 2002 a couple of penguins at a New York zoo who had been together for eight years were "outed" when keepers noticed that they were both males.