At a zoo in Toronto, Canada, Buddy and Pedro, two African penguins, are suspected of being homosexuals by zoo keepers. African penguins are endangered, so the zoo intends to separate them from each other and pair them with females for breeding (video below).
The African penguin population has dropped significantly. The South African animals are declining by a rate of about 2 pe cent a year.
Buddy and Pedro are part of popular African penguin exhibit that opened at the zoo in May. The two, bred in captivity, are part of a group of 12 penguins , six male and six female, that came to Toronto from zoos in the U.S.
Buddy and Pedro arrived from Toledo, Ohio, where they formed a connection as members of a bachelor flock.
Their relationship, referred to as “pair bonding’’ in zoo speak, continued after they arrived here. Scientists don’t use the words "gay" or "straight" when it comes to sexual orientation in animals.
During the day all 12 penguins generally swim and frolic together in their enclosure, but at night Buddy and Pedro pair off together.
“They do courtship and mating behaviors that females and males would do,’’ one zoo keeper said in an interview with the Toronto Star.
Those behaviors include mating calls, defending their territory, preening each other and constantly standing alone together.
“It’s a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort,’’ says Joe Torzsok, chair of the Toronto zoo board.