'Gay' Penguins to Be Split Up at Zoo

Officials want Buddy, Pedro to mate with females
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2011 12:42 AM CST
Updated Nov 10, 2011 2:45 AM CST
'Gay' Penguins to Be Split Up at Zoo
Should the male pair penguins be separated?   (KINGSWORLDNEWS)

A pair of "gay" penguins will be split up by the Toronto Zoo so that they can have chicks—with females. The so-far inseparable males “will be put in with a specific female so they have the chance to get to know one another, and if they bond, that’s what we’re looking for,” a zoo spokesman tells ABC News. Buddy, 21, and Pedro, 10, moved from an Ohio zoo to Toronto, where officials quickly spotted courtship and mating behavior between the guys. The two hang together days, pair up at night, groom each other, and "bray" at each other.

"When you put things in captivity, odd things happen,” explained Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Toronto Zoo officials are eager to increase the dwindling population of African penguins, but it remains to be seen if Buddy and Pedro will cooperate with their plans. “They don’t necessarily do what you want them to do, and what can be kind of tricky is getting them to accept the mate you want them to have,” said McGowan. Buddy might be more amenable to the idea—he mated with a female in Ohio for several years before she died and he met Pedro. The two males can get back together after breeding season, say their handlers. (Read more Toronto Zoo stories.)

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