A same-sex pair of African penguins living at a Netherlands zoo stole an egg from another a heterosexual couple to raise as their own, and many people can’t help but root for them.
DierenPark Amersfoort, a zoo in the Dutch province of Utrecht, posted about the bold males on social media earlier this week.
And so far, they seem to be great dads.
“The gay couple are looking after the egg very well and take turns in keeping it warm,” zookeeper Marc Belt told Dutch News.
Belt said the penguin couple “acquired” the egg when no one was looking, but added that the penguin couple whose egg has been appropriated has already produced a new one. It’s also not totally clear yet whether the stolen egg has been fertilized.
While taking other parents’ offspring is generally frowned upon, these plucky penguins had people celebrating on social media.
The Dutch penguins are not to be confused with a different same-sex penguin couple who made headlines earlier this month. Those penguins, Sphen and Magic of Australia’s Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, are being lauded as a “power couple” after fostering an egg for the second time. Unlike the rogue Netherlands penguins, however, Sphen and Magic did not steal the egg in question. Instead, zookeepers gave it to them because the biological parents had two eggs and were having difficulty taking care of both.
Stories about same-sex penguin couples pop up relatively frequently. One of the most famous examples is Stan and Olli, two king penguins at the Berlin Zoo. Stan and Olli, two males, had initially been part of a breeding program but turned out to show interest only in each other, the zoo told HuffPost in 2016.
And penguins aren’t the only birds to couple up in same-sex pairings. In June, the Denver Zoo marked LGBTQ Pride Month by celebrating two male flamingos, named Freddie Mercury and Lance Bass, who had been a couple for several years.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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