Toronto zoo to separate gay penguins

Published: Nov 11, 2011, 09:39 IST | Agencies |

Cupid's arrow can strike at any moment... even if you're a gay penguin

Cupid's arrow can strike at any moment... even if you're a gay penguin.

A blossoming romance has broken out between two male African penguins at Toronto Zoo.

But Buddy  and Pedro's burgeoning affair is about to be brought to an abrupt end after zookeepers announced they are to separate the lovebirds in order to pair them with females for breeding.

The duo's sexuality came to light when they were seen touching each other, sleeping together and showing signs of mating behaviour.

But because African penguins are an endangered species and both birds have strong genes, officials at the zoo need them to breed.

Buddy and Pedro were both bred in captivity and came to Toronto Zoo from Ohio in May. They had immediately formed a connection when they met in the US.

Though the words gay or straight aren't generally used in zoo speak, the penguins' relationship is a hot topic among zoo staff. "This is all new for us," said another keeper, pointing out that the zoo hasn't had African penguins on display since 1993.

However, there is a silver cloud in every lining, for Buddy and Pedro will be reunited once they have successfully mated with the females.

Joe Torzsok, chairman of the Toronto Zoo board, said, "It's a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort."

The story of the pair has gone viral online.

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