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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. I don't think it'll work but good luck with it.

    I wonder when these penguins chose to be gay?

    Posted by: Laura | Nov 7, 2011 12:28:40 PM

  2. "I wonder when these penguins chose to be gay?"

    Well, no, Laura. That would only be the case if they met while in prison...or an all boys school (but those are usually temporary Gays).

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 7, 2011 12:41:56 PM

  3. I hope it works and they extend and enrich this otherwise nearly-gone penguin gene-pool. More than that, I hope these two get back together and live happily ever after as a couple :--).

    So what if a guy is perfectly equipped to mate with a female? If he has found love with a man, respect that love. (But the end of species seems a legit reason to encourage a little opposite-sex nookie, if just a hook-up or two...)

    Posted by: just_a_guy | Nov 7, 2011 1:29:14 PM

  4. Maggie Gallagher and NOM are having no luck forcing gay men to mate with women, so, now, they're trying to force male penguins to procreate with female penguins? I'd bet gay penguins get just as pissed as gay humans...and they would probably attack the zookeepers. OOPSIE...

    Posted by: MichaelD1026 | Nov 7, 2011 1:44:24 PM

  5. At this zoo there must be numerous other available 'top-notch genetic' penguins -- why split these two guys?? I honor their match and object to such an arbitrary decision to separate Buddy and Pedro!

    Posted by: RichB in PS | Nov 7, 2011 1:59:20 PM

  6. One. Penguin orientation is often fluid.
    Two. Sex with female penguins will help save their species.
    Three. If they don't want to, they won't, they are not drunk college students.

    All clear?

    Posted by: corvidae | Nov 7, 2011 2:03:54 PM

  7. The way I see it, if the human race was in danger of going extinct due to underpopulation, I would mate with a female even though it's against my nature. I'd even help raise the child(ren). But I'd still be with my male lover. After Buddy and Pedro have accomplished their mission, will they be reunited?

    Posted by: Hank | Nov 7, 2011 2:18:16 PM

  8. Have they ever heard of artificial insemination? It's done all the time. With today's technological advances, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Extract their sperm and impregnate the females with it, but for christ sake, leave them alone to be themselves.

    Posted by: mytwocents | Nov 7, 2011 2:20:29 PM

  9. mytwocents

    artifical insemination is probably the 2nd option if this doesn't work

    Most likely due to budget issues

    IVFT is not cheap

    Posted by: say what | Nov 7, 2011 2:31:55 PM

  10. This whole story is depressing. If we are imagining that these cute little birds feel emotions similar to human, which I think they do, then this is horrible and might not even work. This raises many questions. Why should they be forced apart? Why should a female be forced to be with another penguin who doesn't want her? Do they make strap-on penguin dildos?

    Posted by: SFHarry | Nov 7, 2011 2:37:58 PM

  11. Pedro is a perv. Buddy is half his age!

    Posted by: CF | Nov 7, 2011 4:26:54 PM

  12. Corvidae?? Penguins are in Spheniscidae.

    Anyway, the worst part here is that the breeding program is run by evangelicals.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 7, 2011 6:08:09 PM

  13. Evangelicals? Do penguins believe in Jesus? Did they make the really gay one wear the pink arm band?

    Posted by: If only they could talk | Nov 7, 2011 6:15:27 PM

  14. How exactly can you 'force' penguins to mate? If they dont want to, they wont.

    By the way 'Say What', i wouldn't take one for the team and mate with a female, and alcohol wouldnt work either. Alcohol reduces inhibition, which in my case would just make me say what i really think of heterosexuality.. It would have quite the opposite of the desired effect.

    Posted by: Rovex | Nov 8, 2011 2:57:52 AM

  15. I hope they don't die of broken hearts from being separated, seriously. Something about this seems so wrong...

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Nov 8, 2011 3:50:04 AM

  16. We know they're attracted to each other. But how do we know they're _only_ attracted to the same sex. As was the case with Harry, one of the Magellan penguins at San Francisco zoo, it's not unthinkable that one or both of our Buddy-Pedro pair may swing both ways.


    Posted by: kinsey3 | Nov 8, 2011 8:18:50 AM

  17. It will be interesting to see how this is suppose to work. If I was taken from my spouse and dropped on an island with another women, I can pretty much guarantee, she will not get pregnant from my actions.

    Posted by: bayhuntr | Nov 8, 2011 11:53:23 AM

  18. For the people talking about IVF: when you try IVF, if it does not work, you are wasting eggs. If penguins/birds are like mammals in this aspect, I'll admit I don't know for sure, then females have a set number of eggs from the day they were born. This being an endangered species and all, it's not like you really should go about wasting eggs. For the same reason, you should also try to avoid testing out things on them, too. I've never even heard of IVF on birds!

    I can say I think it is very sad that the pair is going to be split up, but I do not question their motive at all. They have a good reason. As for putting them back together again, all for it! But then they'd also have to be careful with breaking them up from their female mates, should they actually mate. Because if this does end up successful, it will mean Buddy and Pedro have found another mate and are bonded to them, too. So that would be kind of sucky, being torn apart from your mate twice!

    Basically, I think you've gotta do what you've gotta do. But they should be very careful doing it. The penguins are obviously going to be stressed out, at least for a while, but measures should be taken to make sure things go at least... kind of smoothly. And like someone said, if they obviously aren't doing well split up, put the penguins back together!

    Syrax - I'm sure they will use the other four males too, but to keep a species healthy there needs to be genetic variety, to avoid recessive diseases and all. Even if the four males are unrelated, the addition of two different males to the pool greatly improves the future breeding possibilities.

    Posted by: Dudelet | Nov 8, 2011 4:03:58 PM

  19. So take their, uh, penguin dna, fertilize an egg, and then give the egg to the couple to raise. No big deal.

    Posted by: lurker | Nov 8, 2011 9:41:25 PM

  20. It's a temporary separation. I'm kinda surprised that Andy neglected to mention that the pair will be getting back together after they go breed.

    Posted by: Gil | Nov 9, 2011 11:47:23 PM

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