Zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo, believe that two African penguins, Buddy and Pedro, are in love as they exhibit habits common to penguins ready to mate, according to a story in The Star.
Buddy, 20, and Pedro, 10, who are in Toronto as part of the popular African penguin exhibit that opened at the zoo in May, are said to be “inseparable.”
“They do courtship and mating behaviors that females and males would do,’’ one keeper told the Canada-based daily, The Star.
The behavior includes making a “braying’’ sound, similar to that of a donkey, which is a mating call. They also defend their territory, preen each other, and are constantly standing together.
“This is all new for us,’’ said another keeper, pointing out that the zoo hasn’t housed African penguins since 1993.
“It’s a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort,’’ says Joe Torzsok, chair of the Toronto Zoo board.
There have been other reported incidents of gay penguins in New York, Orlando, Japan and Germany.
Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park zoo, incubated an egg together and raised the chick, named Tango, after she hatched. A children’s book about them called And Tango Makes Three was a best seller.
Unfortunately, Buddy and Pedro’s relationship will soon come to an end. The two have top-notch genes, so the zoo intends to separate them and pair them with females for breeding, especially since the African penguins are endangered and the move to separate them falls within a species survival plan among zoos.