Yet another pair of homosexual penguins are coming out of the closet (or would that be a South African igloo?).
As part of an experiment a few years ago, Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park zoo, incubated an egg together and raised the chick, named Tango, after she hatched. A children’s book about them called And Tango Makes Three was a smash best seller.
But in Toronto, Buddy and Pedro’s relationship, however you describe it, is destined to come to an end soon because they have a duty. 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.
But at night Buddy and Pedro pair off together. Every night.
“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.
It’s not unusual for some species of animals to exhibit homosexual tendencies. Giraffes, some dolphins and some monkeys are known to form same-sex bonds. The case of the Central Park penguins was similar to one at a zoo in Germany where two male penguins did the same thing.
Talking about monkeys, India apparently has too many:
The northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is simply seething with simians — apparently 367,000 of them. They rampage through the countryside, destroying crops and attacking people, including the tourists on which the state relies for almost one-fifth of its GDP.
In response, authorities are undertaking a mass sterilization drive — 25 centres are being set up across the state, with a goal of sterilizing 200,000 monkeys by June 30, 2012. And there’s a cash incentive: if you catch a monkey and take it to a forestry official, you’ll earn a quick 500 rupees (about $10).
The chief culprits are the rhesus macaque, the least threatened of the monkey species, known for its large and adaptable population. There are also 50,000 langurs.
Despite being pests and destroying people’s livelihoods, monkeys have a religious association, so they are tolerated and even respected. Hindus believe in Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, and people feed the animals, especially on Tuesdays, a day reserved for worshipping Lord Hanuman. In the Ramayana, one of the great Hindu epics, Hanuman leads his large army of monkeys in a struggle against Ravana, the demon king.
What I’d like to see is a gay interspecies couple of a male penguin and lesbian monkey.