Female penguins Electra and Viola have become parents after adopting a baby penguin.
At the Oceanografic Aquarium in Valencia, Spain, these two female penguins adopted an egg from another couple and incubated it themselves. The gender of the baby penguin is not yet known as a blood test cannot be completed until the penguin is at least six weeks old. UNILAD explains that the couple’s baby is one of the three chicks “to have been born into the colony of 25 gentoo penguins this breeding season”. However, it is the only one in the aquarium with homosexual parents.
The same-sex couple had begun showing typical penguin behaviours prior to reproduction.
Staff at the aquarium had given a fertile egg to Electra and Viola after they had seen them start to build a nest out of stones. UNILAD has explained that the aquarium’s bird-keeper Carlos Barros has said that ‘they put two eggs each inside, obviously without knowing they were not fertile, so we put one of the eggs from a different couple into their nest so that they could take care of it’.
Electra and Viola are not the first homosexual couple to raise a baby.
Daily Mail reported that homosexuality is common in penguins and there have been other cases in zoos and aquariums where same-sex couples have raised chicks. Like Electra and Viola, male penguins Skipper and Ping had adopted and raised an egg at Berlin Zoo last year. However, unlike Electra and Viola’s egg, this one had been abandoned by its birth mother. What is more, the penguin seen in the above image had been adopted by two female penguins in London’s Sea Life Centre last year and is now “being raised as gender-neutral by its keepers”.