This story first appeared on The Advocate. You can read the original article here.
A same-sex penguin couple in the United Kingdom have successfully hatched a healthy little penguin chick. Penguins Diego and Zorro are the proud surrogate parents of little Ponyo, who was hatched at the Oceanarium in Bournemouth on May 12 but only recently revealed to the public.
“Our same-sex male couple penguins, Diego & Zorro have successfully hatched their new baby chick, Ponyo just in time for Bournemouth's PRIDE celebrations this weekend!” the Oceanarium announced in an Instagram post.
The Oceanarium’s penguin keeper Kat Nicola explained that the two lovebirds had shown a strong parenting skillset the previous year when they were given a dummy egg. This year, she gave the paired Humboldt penguins a fertilized egg and the feathered couple did not disappoint, proving to be excellent parents.
“It has been Diego and Zorro’s second time fostering and once again they have smashed it, becoming quite the experts at parenting,” Nicola said in a statement.
Nicola said staff at the Oceanarium noticed sparks fly between Diego and Zorro as early as 2017. It has since grown into a strong and lasting relationship to date, something that is not necessarily the norm among penguins.
Zorro (left) and Diego (right) have been an item since 2017
“Penguins are free to choose who they want to spend quality time with and in their case, choose each other,” Nicola said, adding “the welfare and welfare of these animals” is the top priority of the Oceanarium and they “encourage penguins to make their own decisions when it comes to choosing mates.”
\u201c\ud83d\udc27\ud83c\udf08\ud83d\udc27 We have some very exciting news! The first chick to be fostered by a pair of same-sex penguins at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo hatched on January 1! Read the full news release here: https://t.co/NuVJMtLDde #Syracusezoo\u201d