If this doesn’t melt your heart like a climate-change-impacted polar ice cap, there’s a strong chance your heart is made of stone.
Just last month Canada’s Toronto Zoo attracted attention when they chose to separate a pair of gay penguins, Buddy and Pedro, which the zoo said have “excellent genes” for mating purposes.
In an op-ed called “Let Buddy and Pedro Be” the Toronto Star wrote, “at its core the story of Buddy and Pedro is about happiness, whatever form it comes in. That has rightly captured the hearts of people around the world. The zoo should go with the flow.” While acknowledging the “challenges of preserving an endangered species” and “the ridiculousness of arguing for the ‘gay’ rights of penguins when far too many people around the world still don’t have them,” the paper argued the penguins should be allowed to stay together. And the zoo responded, clarifying that no matter how Buddy and Pedro perform with female penguins this mating season, they will see to it that the pair be reunited this spring.
Now it seems that a Zoo in China with a pair of gay penguins of their own is taking an alternate approach. Rather than separating 0310 and 067 (those are their names) keepers at Harbin Polar Land have allowed the waddling couple to adopt a baby chick to raise.
According to Time’s Newsfeed, the pair “had a history of stealing eggs from other more traditional couples during hatching season. So when keepers noticed a mother of recently hatched twins struggling with her parenting duties, they decided to give [0310 and 067] the baby they were looking for.”
Zoos all over the world, from New York to Japan to Germany to Orlando have reported the existence of gay penguins. While according to the Toronto Star, “scientists don’t use the words gay or straight when it comes to sexual orientation in animals,” the pairs’ behaviors mirror the mating behaviors of male and female pairs. They nest together, sleep together, make “a ‘braying’ sound, almost like a donkey, as a mating call,” defend their territory, preen each other, and constantly chill alone. Whether the penguins are gay or just friends who live together and share a bed, it seems that having mate-like relationships with penguins of the same sex is—well—natural.
It’s almost impossible not to anthropomorphize 0310 and 067′s story, which is what makes it so sweet—the penguin couple’s existence, their desire to have a chick, the zoo’s decision to let them raise one that wasn’t faring well in its own home.
Gays obviously shouldn’t need to point to gay animals to validate the existence of their sexuality—it’s just kind of silly. But I am rooting for 0310 and 067. Their story is way cuter than even “Happy Feet.”