Famed gay penguins in the United Kingdom had a totally chill gender reveal for the penguin chick the loving couple fostered this year.
The partnered Humboldt penguins, Diego and Zorro, live at the Oceanarium in Bournemouth and fostered the chick Ponyo since its birth on May 12 at the aquarium. The happy couple, along with newly appointed penguin keeper Melissa Mudge, used a hunk of ice in the shape of a heart and etched with the letter “G” etched to reveal Ponyo is a girl.
Proud Parents Diego and Zorro reveal Ponyo’s gender
“Ponyo has developed really well in the last couple of months,” Mudge told Out Traveler in a statement via email. “She is eating really well and couldn’t be in a healthier position. Ideally, we wanted her to be a girl to balance the girl/ boy ratio, but of course we would be happy whatever the gender was! We are very proud of Ponyo and how well she is doing!”
The biological sex of a Humboldt penguin is impossible to distinguish when it is hatched and can only be determined by an analysis of DNA from a feather after its natural down feathers have molted and its new adult feathers have emerged.
Staff at the Oceanarium noticed sparks fly between foster parents 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. The two lovebirds had shown a strong parenting skillset when they fostered a dummy egg last year. This year, the paired Humboldt penguins were given a fertilized egg and the feathered couple proved to be excellent parents.
Zorro (left) and Diego (right) have been an item since 2017
“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 at the time.
Ponyo's name was selected via a public competition and was inspired by the Japanese animated film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
Mudge went on to say that “Ponyo is extremely curious, playful, and entertaining to watch as she builds more confidence within the colony. It is worth anyone’s while to come and say hello to Ponyo because she will undoubtedly brighten up your day.”