What We Love: Gay Penguins

Buddy and Pedro find a happy ending after all

Photo by Think Stock

Buddy and Pedro had a good thing going. They were both happy, seemingly paired and, well, in “love.” That’s what many people thought until it was announced that the Toronto Zoo decided they wanted to separate the penguins for breeding purposes.

Turns out there are fewer than 250,000 of African Penguins in the world – and the Toronto Zoo is hoping that these healthy males will procreate with females for the sake of all of penguin-kind before they are reunited.

While zoologists don’t refer to the sexual orientation in quite the same way as humans, these guys are considered “bonded.” Ever since they arrived in Toronto from a zoo in Toledo, Ohio, they have exhibited the same behaviors as male and female pairs do – grooming, nesting, mating calls and all. Talk about animal husbandry.

“They seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort,” Joe Torzok, chair of the Toronto Zoo board, told The Star. And it’s not unusual. Two male penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo also appeared to be in a “relationship” and even inspired the children’s book And Tango Makes Three when the couple raised an orphan baby penguin who lost its mother.

There have also been cases in which dolphins, giraffes and monkeys have paired with same-sex partners, both in zoos and in the wild. We can already see the trailer for a new Happy Feet movie with a voice over by Harvey Fierstein.