A bonded pair of male penguins at the Toronto Zoo is being separated to encourage them to bond with females and mate.
Both Buddy, 20, and Pedro, 10, are part of an African penguin exhibit that only recently opened. The two were both bred in captivity and were part of a 12 penguin unit sent to the zoo from the United States. Buddy and Pedro were both from Toledo, Ohio where they first formed a connection.
The couple pair off every night and behave in ways normally reserved to mating patterns including braying at each other, preening one another and huddling close.
Buddy and Pedro are hardly the first same-sex penguin couple and Z and Vielpunkt, two male Humboldt penguins at a Germany zoo, adopted an abandoned egg raised the chick that hatched. Another pair in a China zoo was given a wedding celebration to toast their union.
The subject of gay-penguin parenting became a controversial topic when the children’s book, And Tango Makes Three, told the story of two gay penguin parents in the New York Zoo. Conservative and religious groups fought for the banning of the book from libraries and called it a fraud.