I’ve heard of gay penguins before, but I hadn’t heard of this. A couple of gay gentoos at Polar Land in Harbin, China, had attempted to snatch eggs from the feet of other penguins. Devious little guys, aren’t they? What’s more devious is that they would actually replace the egg with stones in hopes the parents would not notice. However, the other penguins in the zoo have indeed noticed and have ostricized the gay couple from their group.
Obviously the penguins have the desire to become fathers as nature has deemed, but wow, these little guys certainly aren’t being bird brains. I think I may have seen an episode of Law & Order about this, only with humans (and no rocks, maybe). Anyway, I find the switcheroo interesting since the chinstraps from the New York City Zoo (i.e. And Tango Makes Three) were trying to use stones to incubate. They were later given an egg from keepers to hatch and raise as their own.
The keepers of the zoo have fenced them off from the other penguins so their hatching season isn’t disturbed. I think that’s perfectly understandable, not cruel at all, though it’s sad for these male penguins.
[UPDATE: 12/16/08] The keepers at the zoo have given the penguins a pair of eggs from an inexerience first-time mother whose hatching ability wasn’t going so well. It turns out that they these male penguins are doing very well with their job. I know this would seem like stealing from the mother and giving the eggs to the other two because she’s not doing it right and that sounds like a horrible thing to do. In a natural environment, yes, I agree that interfering with a situation like this should not be allowed. This zoo, however, is trying to successfully breed and I’m sure they are doing this for the good of their breeding program (which is why they fenced off the gay gentoos in the first place).