Day By Day

Friday, February 10, 2006

Gay Penguin Update -- Swedes Strike Out

Back in 2005 zookeepers at Bremerhaven noticed that six of their male penguins had formed same-sex pair bonds. In an attempt to straighten out the situation [groan], the zoo imported several female penguins from Sweden ["Swedish temptresses" the news accounts called them]. At the time Bilious Young Fogey, the noted Aussie "homocon" blogger, predicted that the strategy would never work. I was less sure, noting that Roy and Silo, New York's famous gay penguin pair had eventually gone straight..., well, at least Silo did, Roy remained "confused". [read about it here and here].

Well, the results are in and the Fogey was right; I was wrong. The Swedes struck out. AFP reports:
BERLIN (AFP) - Six gay penguins at a German zoo are still refusing to mate with females of the species flown in from Sweden in 2005, the zoo said.

The problem was that the female Humboldt penguins have proven too shy in their advances, the director of the zoo in the northern port city of Bremerhaven said.

"The Swedes will not make the first move," Heike Kueck said.

The females were flown in last year in a bid to bring the males to mate and help save the Humboldt species from extinction....

Read it here.

There is a serious point to be made here. All commentators, myself included, have succumbed to the temptation to anthropomorphize these critters. The process of imprinting that leads to the formation of pair-bonds in penguins might be quite different from the process of mate-selection in humans. What penguins do tells us almost nothing about human society.

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