A male penguin couple in China has been given a newly-hatched chick to care for after the birth parents showed signs of struggling to raise it themselves.
The ‘gay’ penguins at Harbin Polar Land in northern China have been together for some time now and were even “married” in a ceremony at the zoo in 2009.
In the past they were known to “steal” eggs from other penguins during the hatching season in a bid to raise chicks. They were eventually given abandoned eggs to incubate and proved their parenting skills.
“In birds, it doesn’t matter what sex you are. Both sexes are perfectly capable and absolutely necessary to raise a penguin bird,” McGowan said. “It’s not like mammals where only one sex can feed,” Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y., told ABCNews.com.
The new chick was one of twins born in late November, a rare phenomenon among penguins.
Animal experts say that it is challenging for penguins to raise twins and thus the one chick was passed on to the male couple to parent.