Rocky and Marama, a lesbian penguin couple, has built the biggest and best nest in the colony - proving that they are ready to become penguin mothers. Thus, Sea Life London gave them an egg to hatch after another penguin mother couldn’t handle the pressure of two babies. The chick, which is yet to be named, was welcomed by the couple four months ago.
According to Reuters, an international news organization, the Sea Life London decided to raise the young penguin genderless and will be given gender-neutral names like Kelly, Alex, or Charlie. “(Our) expert care team decided that it would be normal for this chick to be identified as genderless by the team and guests rather than sticking to the tradition of naming our penguins at the aquarium as a male or female,” it said in a statement.
|Rocky and Marama/ Screengrab from: Unilad|
The chick was given a purple tag on its wing to be recognized, with purple widely regarded to be a gender-neutral color. According to Graham McGrath, general manager, the penguin parents are calm despite the sleepless nights of caring for the chick and the constant feeding.
|The couple and the other penguins / Photo by: Triangle News via Unilad|
Unilad, a British Internet media company and website owned by LADbible Group, reported that Rocky and Marama are taking turns to care for their baby which allows them to take a rest. Although this seems unusual, gender neutrality is completely natural with penguins. Developing genderless identities are common for these animals as they grow into mature adults. “What makes us really proud at the aquarium is the success of SEA LIFE London’s Gentoo breeding programme and the amazing job of same-sex penguins Rocky and Marama who took the chick under their wing and raised it as their own,” McGrath said.
This is not the first time that a same-sex penguin couple had raised a chick. Over the past few years, gay penguin couples at zoos in London, Berlin and New York have also done the same. For instance, two male penguins hatched Sea Life Sydney Aquarium’s first sub-Antarctic chick.
|The Penguins' caretaker / Photo by: Triangle News via Unilad|