It appears a female has come between one of Canada's celebrity couples. Toronto's zoo has split up a pair of male penguins whose affection for each other drew headlines and speculation about whether they might be gay.
The zoo said Buddy and Pedro had been officially separated and Buddy had mated with a female. Pedro had not succeeded yet in mating with a female, but it wasn't for lack of trying. The birds' separation was one that zoo officials said was necessary because penguins are an endangered species and the two needed to mate with females.
The African penguins had shared the nest they built since coming to the zoo about a year ago. Zoo curator Tom Mason describes their bond as social not sexual and said when the birds rejoined the general population they were likely to stay with their female matches and go their separate ways.
The story of the pair, who came to be known as Toronto's "gay penguins", went viral online. Late-night TV comics jumped into the icy waters of penguin passion. Jimmy Kimmel riffed on the story during a recent monologue, calling it Brokeback Iceberg and claiming the lovebirds were spotted at a Lady Gaga concert. Buddy, who is 21, had a female mate for 10 years and produced offspring before his partner died. Pedro, 10, has not yet fathered any offspring.