Authorities are allowing two gay male king penguins in Germany settle down together after numerous attempts to encourage the animals to mate with females and reproduce.
Stan and Olli lived at Berlin Zoo where they are part of a European conservation program designed to protect and multiply their species, Metro reports.
But while all the other penguins ended up mating, officials realized these two male birds only bonded with each other.
“They’re gay, as far as we know,” Berlin Zoo spokeswoman Christiane Reiss said. “They never bred. And when it came to courtship, they only mated with one another.”
Officials have finally accepted the penguins’ love and moved them to Hamburg Zoo, where they will no longer be pressured to reproduce.
It seems they may feel more at home there. They will join another same-sex couple at the zoo: Juan and Carlos.
They’re not the only gay animals out there, defying many long-held belief about the purpose of sexuality, authorities say.
“Sexuality is not just about making babies, it is also about making the flock work. For some animals, homosexuality is normal flock behavior,” zoologist Petter Bockman said.
“Birds are really complicated,” added Bockman. ‘What goes on in birds’ brains is anyone’s guess.”
Although they may not be able to reproduce, reports reveal same-sex penguin couples still make great parents.
“These two have so far proven to be two of the best penguin parents we have had yet,” said British Wingham Wildlife Park’s owner, Tony Binskin, describing a gay penguin couple that is raising a baby together at his zoo.
Female penguin couples have also been spotted, PinkNews reports. In April 2014, a zoo in Ireland revealed two of its penguins, Penelope and Missy, were lesbians.
“[Homosexuality is] definitely not an unusual occurrence although this time it’s two females,” said Oceanworld’s head penguin keeper, Kate Hall.
“The thing penguins do to show they like each other is they bow to each other and they are doing that,” she added. “When they come into breeding season, they do it to the penguin of their choice and it reinforces the bond between them.”