This is the second time the notorious pair has stolen another couple's eggs in their desperation to be fathers.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 27, 2020. It has since been updated.
A Dutch queer penguin community was set ablaze with some egg-napping drama after two gay lovers with a penchant for troublemaking stole a complete nest of eggs from another couple—who, by the way, happened to be a lesbian couple. This was the second time the notoriously paternal gay penguin couple at DierenPark Amersfoort in the Netherlands made international headlines. Their 2020 stint followed a similar incident the previous year when they took an egg from another penguin family, reports DutchNews.nl. Unfortunately, despite their desperation to raise a chick of their own, the duo remained childless and was likely to suffer the same fate the second time around as well.
Fostering eggs is relatively common in the queer penguin community, according to The Cut, and zoos and aquariums often gift unhatched eggs to same-sex penguin couples who exhibit a desire to become parents. However, instead of showing signs of wanting a chick—by building a mock nest out of pebbles, for example—this pair of African penguins decided to take matters into their own claws and resorted to snatching a nest full of eggs from two expectant mothers. Zoo officials revealed that the couple took turns to sit on the eggs and keep them warm while the other forages for food.
A pair of gay African penguins, who made headlines last year when they stole an egg from a heterosexual couple, have now stolen a lesbian couple’s nest, a Dutch zoo says. https://t.co/Q77UPAr3yv— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 24, 2020
Unfortunately, zookeeper Sander Drost revealed that their parental dreams are likely to remain unfulfilled as the eggs are unlikely to hatch as they may not have been fertilized, given that they were laid by the lesbian couple. DierenPark Amersfoort announced the duo's antics on Twitter, writing: "Special news! Our park's penguin gay couple has taken an entire nest from a lesbian penguin couple this year. Homosexuality is more common in this bird species. Both birds nest on the eggs, alternately guarding the nest!"
Two gay penguins with a reputation for trouble stole an entire nest of eggs from a neighboring lesbian couple at the same zoo https://t.co/4jaH4OjFN2— The Cut (@TheCut) October 22, 2020
The couple—who the zoo clarified do not "have names, but can be recognized by a unique color code on a strap they wear"—first made headlines in November 2019 when they acquired an egg from another penguin family when no one was looking. "Homosexuality is more common in penguins, but it is remarkable that this couple has now also managed to get hold of an egg," zookeeper Marc Belt told RTV Utrecht at the time. "The males took over the egg from a straight couple at an unguarded moment."
Two "very determined" gay penguins took a nest of unfertilized eggs from a lesbian couple. https://t.co/748xO8OejM— HuffPost (@HuffPost) October 23, 2020
"The gay couple takes good care of the egg, the males both breed alternately," he added, revealing that the straight penguin couple had laid a new egg in the meantime and were also busy brooding. "Of course we hope to welcome one of the gay couple among those new chicks, we will wait and see." Sadly, it was later reported that the egg didn't hatch and may not have been fertilized. "We also had a lesbian couple at the time. It could be that they stole it from that couple. And of course, they are not fertilized," said Drost.
He added that the gay pair tend to be quite dominant within the 17-strong group in the penguin enclosure. "Every couple has a house in the residence, but this couple has appropriated two houses," he revealed. All hope is not lost for the couple yet as Drost explained that "if we have a penguin couple with fertilized eggs, where something happens that prevents them from hatching it themselves, then we can also surrender those eggs to such a gay couple."