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Toronto Zoo Plans to Split Gay Penguin Couple, Force Them to Mate with Females: VIDEO


Buddy and Pedro, a bonded, inseparable pair of African penguins at the Toronto Zoo, are going to be split by zookeepers inan effort to breed them, the Toronto Star reports:

They have top-notch genes, so the zoo intends to separate them from each other and pair them with females for breeding. Given that African penguins are endangered, the move falls within a species survival plan among zoos.

Buddy, 20, and Pedro, 10, are in Toronto as part of the popular African penguin exhibit that opened at the zoo in May. The two, bred in captivity, were part of a group of 12 penguins — six male, six female — that came to Toronto from zoos in the U.S. Buddy and Pedro arrived from Toledo, Ohio, where they formed a connection as members of a bachelor flock.

Buddy and Pedro pair off every night, the paper adds:

“They do courtship and mating behaviours that females and males would do,’’ one keeper said in an interview.

Those behaviours include making a “braying’’ sound, almost like a donkey, as a mating call. They defend their territory, preen each other, and are constantly standing alone together. In fact when the Star visited the exhibit this week Buddy emerged from the water, followed a few moments later by Pedro. The two huddled together for quite some time..


(via buzzfeed)

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  1. What can I say? Never worked for me.

    Posted by: metroptomist | Nov 7, 2011 10:19:09 AM

  2. Yeah. Good luck with that...

    Posted by: MirrorMan | Nov 7, 2011 10:19:54 AM

  3. Spread those gay genes throughout the population boys!

    Posted by: JC | Nov 7, 2011 10:32:49 AM

  4. Lord. Lord. No matter where they go in this matter where they seek sanctuary--African Gays surely see a hard time...even in liberal Canada.

    Let those guys live their lives the way nature intended. It's their orientation NOT a choice, dammit! What a cruel azz world.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 7, 2011 10:46:59 AM

  5. I was outraged by that assertion about forced separation and mating with females, too, at first. But the article also mentioned that because of their species facing extinction, that was the impetus for doing so rather than any purported homophobic motive. As long as they let them back together later on, I can understand the necessity.

    Posted by: ah123 | Nov 7, 2011 10:47:37 AM

  6. yeah, its not because they are gay they will be separated but due to species survival

    "...given that African penguins are endangered, the move falls within a species survival plan among zoos...."

    Though I would support such only on a temp basis to get the females preggers and popping out kids. They should then allow the 2 males to rebond

    Posted by: say what | Nov 7, 2011 10:50:40 AM

  7. I'll take a different spin in sympathy with AH123: Surely the effort to mate them with females is well-intentioned. It may be only a first step in dealing with this endangered species. Frankly, I hope that the effort fails and the researchers must resort to extracting sperm from these guys and doing some artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Nov 7, 2011 10:54:12 AM

  8. So is IVF not viable here?

    Posted by: Raven | Nov 7, 2011 10:55:27 AM

  9. God, can't we even let penguins alone without imposing hetero-BS values on them? Hope they don't commit suicide.

    Posted by: Jack M | Nov 7, 2011 10:56:58 AM

  10. "The two, bred in captivity, were part of a group of 12 penguins — six male, six female — that came to Toronto from zoos in the U.S."

    From what I understand there are at least four more heterosexual penguins they could use. Why separate these too?

    Posted by: Syrax | Nov 7, 2011 10:57:04 AM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 7, 2011 10:57:30 AM

  12. Okay, I can see the need to make every attempt to mate for the sake of the survival of the species. But, for God's sake please monitor them and if there appears to be a negative behavior change (i.e., Penguin depression), then put them back together.

    Posted by: Chris in MN | Nov 7, 2011 11:01:32 AM

  13. ok, this is quite the anthropomorphization, if there was ever one haha.

    penguins cannot be gay. penguins can display homosexual behavior, like pretty much every other animal it seems, but they cannot be "gay". that's a term that is used for humans.

    all nit picking aside, what is happening to these poor animals is quite sad.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavidavid | Nov 7, 2011 11:14:10 AM

  14. Dear DaftPunkyDaviDavid: I'm amazed that you are such an expert that you say that because certain language is used for people it can't be used for other animals. It's obvious from the other behaviors described in the article that these guys are a COUPLE. GET IT? I dunno what made you such a narrow-minded "expert" but you really need to get over yourself. Your posting sounds like the fake-christian haters who reduce "gay" to genital activity. the fact is that the whole area of attraction remains a mystery--even for humans. Evidently you've never been in love or you'd realize that sex is only one part of mating--and often not all that important a part either.

    Posted by: Danny | Nov 7, 2011 11:23:08 AM

  15. It'll never work. You'd think zoologists would have enough sense to know that.

    Posted by: Danny | Nov 7, 2011 11:25:34 AM

  16. If the human species faced extinction, would you take one for the team and - reluctantly - mate with a woman?

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 7, 2011 11:26:55 AM

  17. This is sad and perhaps doomed to failure. I hope they put them back together at some point soon.

    Posted by: Married in MA | Nov 7, 2011 11:28:46 AM

  18. In a word, Steve -- NO!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 7, 2011 11:35:35 AM

  19. If it meant saving the human race, I would definitely bust one for the team. My pride isnt that fragile. We may be gay, you guys... but we're still men who make sperm.

    Now, I wish we would stop projecting our issues and values on animals. The experts are trying to save a species from extinction... Lets let them try to make penguin babies. Simple.

    Posted by: jim | Nov 7, 2011 11:44:04 AM

  20. syrax

    one assumes it is due to genetic diversity or lack there of issues

    the other 4 may all be related while buddy and pedro might not be related to the other 4 so they would offer genetic diversity / improving the gene pool

    IVF is probably the best option but due to budget constraints it is the 2nd option if forced mating fails. Forced mating is cheaper & the zoo board/ budget might be forcing it as the primary option

    David E

    oh come on, if Humanity was doomed to extinction (in a lot of ways we deserve it) you should take 1 for the team. If you and I were the last 2 males and there were a bunch of females....I'd get you drunk and force you to mate with some females due to the genetic diversity issue of me dominating the gene pool with whatever recessives I might have

    Posted by: say what | Nov 7, 2011 11:44:08 AM

  21. I hope they plan on getting them really drunk first...

    Posted by: Tonic | Nov 7, 2011 11:47:05 AM

  22. PS

    ideally a viable gene pool needs at least 36 non related mating pairs thus 72 non related individuals

    That is the ideal & in this world the ideal is rare

    Posted by: say what | Nov 7, 2011 11:47:42 AM

  23. @ Danny:

    hahaha... do you realize how you basically just make my case better than i did?

    you're conflating humans and other animals. and that's precisely my point. while there are obviously similarities, they're not the same.

    i never reduced human sexuality to sex. had you bothered to read my comment, you may have realized that.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Nov 7, 2011 12:05:53 PM

  24. There being forced to mate because of they have top notch genes? Well Duh!! THERE GAY of course they have top notch genes

    Posted by: George | Nov 7, 2011 12:14:41 PM

  25. You cannot change human nature. I know the penguins are endangered but it seems very harsh to separate them. I hope the zoo puts them back together once they find out that they will not mate with females.

    Posted by: Professor Locs | Nov 7, 2011 12:20:16 PM

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