Sea Life Melbourne has proudly announced that their star gay penguins, Klaus and Jones, have “rekindled their love” and have begun creating a nest of their own.
The annual Gentoo penguin nesting season has begun and the Melbourne aquarium has seen various penguins couple together in preparation for the mating season ahead. They have shared that they noticed a number of old couples come together this year, along with a few new ones and some diverse ones too.
Emily Thornton, the aquarium’s penguin keeper, explains how the nesting ritual happens. “It’s very much about collecting rocks which we provide for them on a regular basis throughout the day. You usually see the male partner picking up the rocks and giving them to their partner. Each rock is worth a lot and it’ll be piled up within the nest area.”
Thornton continues to tell us more about Melbourne’s beloved gay penguins stating that “they’ve been together for about 3 to 4 years” and that they initially “started building their nests in the wrong area but this year they’ve actually put it in the nesting platform area, which is really exciting!” As the same-sex couple cannot naturally produce their own egg the aquarium hopes that the gay penguin couple will be able to foster a real egg abandoned by another couple this year, but for the time being they practice parenting with a ‘dummy egg’.
The lead bird keeper at the Melbourne aquarium, Tanith Davis, explains that this is not the first time the aquarium has seen two gay penguins come together during nesting season. “Sea Life Melbourne has had many same-sex couples in our breeding history, and they’ve been doting parents,” she explains. “Same-sex penguin pairs will court each other and incubate an egg exactly the same way as a male-female pair.”
Alongside the unique gay penguins that the Melbourne aquarium has welcomed during this year’s nesting season, the bird keepers noticed that another Gentoo penguin couple stood out from the rest of the bunch. Emily Thornton said “we thought there was actually going to be another same-sex couple, but what actually happened was interesting.” Their other new same-sex pair, Tuna and Nigel, ended up laying an egg. The bird keepers thought that Nigel was a male penguin but after seeing them lay an egg they understood they made a mistake. Thornton said “we’re hoping that Tuna, who is a really experienced dad, will be able to teach Nigel what to do.”
With the exciting news of Klaus and Jones back together this nesting season we hope to see them have a chance at parenting through fostering an abandoned egg at the enclosure. To read more about gay penguins, take a look back at another same-sex penguin couple that successfully fostered an adorable penguin baby earlier this year.
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