Male penguins Jumbs and Kermit, have proven to be Wingham Wildlife Park’s best parents.
The gay couple became foster parents after zookeepers gave them an egg abandoned by a heterosexual couple.
Jumbs and Kermit have nurtured their adopted egg and have now hatched a thriving young chick. Keepers also say the couple is now the 14-strong group’s best penguin parents.
Becky Johnson, head of birds and mammals at the park, explained: “It was a shame to see the hetrosexual pair leave their egg, largely because the male deserted his share of the duties.”
Kent Online UK adds:
So when the unattended real egg was not being incubated, they swapped it for the fake one in Jumbs and Kermit’s nest and a few weeks later a chick was hatched on April 12.
Park owner Tony Binskin said: “At first we were apprehensive and prepared to go in and remove the baby or assist the new foster parents by supplementing their feed.
“But all we have had to do was to take the chick out once a day to weigh it to ensure that it is growing as it should.”
Following a month in the care of Jumbs and Kermit, the chick, which has yet to be sexed or named, gained 500g in weight, and is growing as it should.
Tony added: “These two have so far proven to be the best penguin parents we have had. But we have had to bring in two new males to keep the balance of the group.
“We are still very much starting our breeding efforts with this species, and this is only our second year, but having such good surrogate parents available should we need them is a huge bonus for us.
“Being brought up by individuals of the same species always has a better outcome for animals being reared. While we will intervene and hand rear animals if necessary, it is something we prefer to avoid.”[H/T: PinkNews]