Zookeepers Say ‘Gay’ Penguin Split Has Noble Goal: Saving the Species

After a day of media headlines decrying the split of Toronto Zoo 'gay' penguin pair Buddy and Pedro, the zookeepers are speaking out about their decision to split them for breeding:

Penguins“The two girls have been following them; we just have to get the boys interested in looking at them…We have to keep an eye on the population all the time, because if we let things slide we could lose the population forever."

Approximately 60,000 African penguins live in the wild and the species is in danger.

The inseparable penguins will soon be back together, they reassure:

Pedro and Buddy’s separation will only last as long as they can inseminate their respective female partners. While incubating eggs, the two may well be back “side by side.” Once breeding season is up, Pedro and Buddy will “probably” ditch their female partners and reunite, said Bill Rapley, executive director for conservation, education and wildlife at the Toronto Zoo.

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


  1. Mike8787 says

    This isn’t about saving the species. This is about the zoo being frustrated that it bought four penguins to make free baby penguins, and with gay penguins they’ll get nil. So it’s about the zoo wanting a return investment.


  2. rafi says

    I think zookeepers are among the last to look at animals as commodity, Mike.

    As someone said the other day this really is just about over-anthropomorphizing. The zoo is behaving responsibly by trying to save an endangered species; they’re not just trying to break up gay penguins because they think it’s immoral. They even said they will only enforce the separation long enough to impregnate the females, and the two will very likely get back together right afterward.

    I think we have enough on our plate without worrying whether people will prioritize gay purism over the survival of endangered penguins.

  3. says

    Well I figure the artificial insemination would be a lot more expensive and maybe carry risk? I won’t pretend to know details and facts about that haha. Also, I can’t really understand anybody who is getting up in arms about this. They are freaking penguins for goodness sakes. They are even putting them back together after.

  4. rafi says

    Good question. One commenter the other day suggested it was cost. Makes sense to me — I bet it would cost a lot more to artificially inseminate than just let them go at it, and zoos are always strapped for cash.

  5. Marty says

    The fact that there is “outrage” is just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Have the guys impregnate the girls and let it go. Is there even any proof that they are gay? I mean get real people, they could just be two male birds hanging out.

    Some people are in DESPERATE need of lives of their own….two birds…i mean, really?

  6. McCoysMarketNYC says

    @RAFI: So let’s say that TWO female African penguins in a zoo in Toronto both get pregnant and produce two more penguins in this zoo. THAT’S going to save the entire species?!?! Give me a break.

  7. rafi says

    Let’s take a deep breath, McCoy. No one’s suggesting a species can magically be saved by the birth of two penguins. But this species is endangered enough that every birth counts for a lot, and if they can be done with no downside, then why the hell not?

    If the only downside is that it gets people like you in a hilarious tizzy, I’m all for it.

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