German same-sex penguin couple adopt egg abandoned by its mother

A pair of male king penguins at Berlin Zoo are fulfilling a long-standing ambition to become parents, by adopting an egg abandoned by its mother.

Skipper and Ping had previously displayed their instincts as nurturers by trying to hatch stones and even fish, a zoo spokesperson said.

Their encounter with the real thing came last month after a king penguin mother abandoned an egg - and they jumped at the chance.

"They are in a same sex relationship. And they have shown normal breeding behaviour," keeper Norbert Zahmel said. 

"But they did not have an egg and used substitutes like a stone in order to satisfy that breeding urge."

Zahmel said that they put the abandoned egg in front of the male couple and they "immediately knew what to do".

This is the first time the Berlin Zoo has tried to have a same-sex penguin couple incubate an egg. So far the surrogacy seems to have worked out.

In the wild, traditional king penguin couples share incubation duties.

If things continue to go well and the egg proves to be fertilized, Skipper and Ping should become proud parents by early September.


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