Two Male Penguins Incubate and Raise Orphaned Chick of Different Species at SeaWorld San Antonio
We could all learn something from SeaWorld San Antonio's unique penguin family.
The Texas theme park is sharing the story of its two male Gentoo penguins who, after years of waiting, are raising a Chinstrap chick—a penguin of a different species no less—as a pair.
This heartwarming tale began in 2017, when a team of aviculturists observed two male Gentoo penguins building a nest together. According to a SeaWorld spokesperson, they behaved as a pair, taking turns guarding the nest site and "sitting just as an expectant parent bird would."
The penguins were so attentive to their empty nest that, after much observation and trial, experts deemed it safe for them to serve as foster parents to an egg.
In 2020, the Gentoo pair was given an orphaned Chinstrap penguin egg in need of fostering. And not only did they incubate the egg, but they've also thrived as parents, taking turns caring for and feeding the chick since it hatched on December 30.
There have been several famous same-sex male penguin couples over the years, NPR reports. Silo and Roy, chinstrap penguins, were together for six years at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. In 2018, two male penguins at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Australia named Sphen and Magic welcomed a surrogate baby of their own.