Watch: Gay Penguins Hatch, Care for Chick at Indianapolis Zoo

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday January 20, 2021

The Indianapolis Zoo announced that their community of Gentoo penguins has added two new arrivals — including a newly-hatched chick with two fathers.

In addition to jubilation over the new chicks, the Zoo said in a post at its website, it was "also celebrating the beautiful differences of their families, because one of our newcomers was born to a same-sex pair — a first for the Indianapolis Zoo."

The account described how the male couple came to care for the egg: "A female that's actually paired with another penguin laid the egg and left it with the male couple, who have been caring for it ever since.

"Same-sex pairings have also occurred with penguin species in the wild and in other zoos," the zoo's post went on to note. "Our two male birds became first-time dads when their chick hatched on Dec. 15."

"Gentoo penguins co-parent their young, and just as a female-male pair would do, the two fathers have taken turns tending the nest, incubating the egg and now feeding the chick," text at the zoo's website added.

The mother penguin having selected the male couple to serve as foster parents is a contrast to how a male pair of African penguins in a Netherlands zoo pulled off an egg-snatching caper last fall in their quest for fatherhood. The guys were in for a disappointment, having snatched the egg from a lesbian penguin pair that the zookeeper said probably had not been fertilized.

Same-sex penguin couples in zoos and aquariums around the world have made headlines in recent years for their devoted fostering of eggs, some of which would have perished without their adoptive moms or dads.

Power couple Sphen and Magic, a pair of male Gentoo penguins at the SEA LIFE Aquarium in Sydney, Australia, are repeat celebrities, having welcomed their second chick in November.

Perhaps the most famous same-sex penguin couple were Roy and Silo, a pair of chinstrap penguins who lived at the Central Park Zoo in New York. They hatched and cared for a chick named Tango, and their family became immortalized in the best-selling — and perennially-challenged — children's book "And Tango Makes Three."

Watch the Indianapolis Zoo's video of the new arrivals and their families in the tweet below.


Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.