A gay King penguin couple in Germany has been moved to Hamburg from the Berlin zoo after the zookeepers discovered that the penguins "only mated with one another". They will now live with a few similar homosexual penguins in the zoo.
Stan and Olli, the male King penguins, were brought to Berlin under the European Conservation Programme (EEP). The zoo authorities planned to mate the male penguins with their female counterparts to breed more baby king penguins and preserve their species. However, all their efforts went in vain after discovering that the penguins preferred each other's company to female penguins.
King penguins are large-sized penguins with their heights varying from 70 cm to 100 cm. Their average age of first breeding is six years. However, some can begin breeding at the age of three. King penguins have a long breeding cycle spanning about 14 to 16 months.
"They're [Stan and Olli] gay, as far as we know," Berlin Zoo spokeswoman Christiane Reiss was quoted as saying by the Local's German edition. "They never bred. And when it came to courtship, they only mated with one another," the spokeswoman added.
In Hamburg, Stan and Olli will be addressed by new names, Kalle and Grobi, Hamburg penguin keeper Dave Nelde reportedly said. The couple will stay in the company of another gay penguin couple, called Juan and Carlos. The King penguin couple will not be prompted to reproduce and will be left to live the way they choose to at their new habitat.
While Germany is still far from legalising homosexual relationships and giving same-sex couples their due rights, the penguins seem to have found their rightful place.
Earlier in 2009, two gay penguins at the Bremerhaven Zoo even "adopted" an egg laid by a heterosexual pair, the news report noted, adding that the gay penguin couple worked together to hatch the baby.