In zoos around the world, same-sex penguin couples often steal eggs from opposite-sex pairs. The Hagenbeck Zoo in Germany is home to Juan and Carlos a same-sex Humboldt penguin couple who incubated an artificial egg. And Inca and Rayas, a same-sex Gentoo penguin couple living in Madrid, hatched an egg given to them by zookeepers concerned about the couple sinking into depression after six years of a barren nest. While at a faraway zoo in China, Adam and Steve are happily raising their own bundle of joy.
Dotty and Zee, Humboldt penguins that live at the Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany, have been together for more than ten years. The dapper duo has been building nests together with hopes of starting a family.
For years zookeepers left the penguin pair to their own devices expecting nature to take its course. But, after a few years of an eggless nest, zookeepers ran DNA tests on the couple only to discover that both birds were male, which explains the empty nest.
Same sex couples are not unusual in the penguin world. The Bremerhaven Zoo is home to 10 other penguin pairs, and three of these sets are male. Humboldt penguins are on the endangered list with just 2000 of the species known to exist. This prompted zookeepers to import females from Sweden to encourage breeding with the same-sex pairs.
Like the other same-sex mates, Dotty and Zee were having none of that, proving the dedication of the couples to each other. A vet at the Bremerhaven told Animal Planet, “The three gay couples stayed together showing us that they are really strong relationships.” Instead, the crafty couple attempted to steal eggs from neighboring nests and replace them with smooth white rocks but were ultimately found out.
When the straight penguin couples discovered the decoys the egg thieves, Dotty and Zee, became outcasts. But, as luck would have it for the lovebirds, the zookeepers gifted Dotty and Zee an egg that was rejected by its mother, and the couple finally had an egg of their own in the nest. The paternal pair shared the responsibility of incubating the egg, feeding the adorable chick and raising her as their own.