Same-sex Penguin Couple Just Became First-time Mothers to Chick After Adopting the Egg

Photo: Facebook/ Oceanogràfic València

Photo: Facebook/ Oceanogràfic València

The penguin couple had adopted the egg from another couple, incubated it and then hatched it. They are now raising the chick together.

  • Last Updated: August 27, 2020, 12:36 PM IST

A same sex penguin couple in Spain welcoming a chick is probably just the kind of uplifting news you need, as the world grapples with a deadly pandemic.

Electra and Viola, who live at Oceanogràfic València aquarium in Spain, have been described as an exceptional pair by the aquarium managers. They had earlier adopted an egg from another couple and incubated it; now, the egg has hatched and the two are raising the adorable chick together.

According to a press release by the aquarium, three penguin couples among Gentoo penguins have welcomed chicks this season.

The aquarium said that same sex couples are not uncommon among animals, but the adoption of another chick is the first such instance for them.

The press release also offers some insight into the penguins’ activities before the egg hatched, to show that their behaviour is similar to other penguin couples — that is, they begin building nests out of stones. Both parents take turns at incubation and the period lasts for a total of 38 days. 75 days after birth, the chick becomes independent.

A similar incident was reported last year in the United Kingdom. In a world first, a four-month old gender-neutral penguin is being raised by a same-sex penguin couple at an aquarium in UK. Sea Life London said the Gentoo chick is “the world’s first penguin to not have its gender assigned.”

The two female penguins, Rocky and Marama, were given the egg to relieve the penguin’s birth mother of the pressure of raising two chicks. Although it’s usual for new-born penguins to be given a gender-based name at the aquarium, it was decided that it would be best for the chick to grow and develop into a mature adult as neutral which is normal in the wild until they mature.

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