Thursday, June 4, 2009

'Gay penguins' rear adopted chick


Two "gay" male penguins have hatched a chick and are now rearing it as its adoptive parents, says a German zoo.

The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males - Z and Vielpunkt - were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.

It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, said to have reached four weeks old.

The zoo made headlines in 2005 over plans to "test" the sexual orientation of penguins with homosexual traits.

Three pairs of male penguins had been seen attempting to mate with each other and trying to hatch offspring from stones.

           

 Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do 

 

The zoo flew in four females in a bid to get the endangered birds to reproduce - but quickly abandoned the scheme after causing outrage among gay rights activists, who accused it of interfering in the animals' behaviour.

The six "gay" penguins remain at the zoo, among them Z and Vielpunkt who are now rearing the chick together after being given the rejected egg.

"Z and Vielpunkt, both males, gladly accepted their 'Easter gift' and got straight down to raising it," said a zoo statement.

"Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do. The two happy fathers spend their days attentively protecting, caring for and feeding their adopted offspring."

Humboldt penguins are normally found in coastal Peru and Chile, but their numbers have been dwindling due to overfishing, reports the AFP news agency.

'Drive to mate'

There have been previous reports of exclusive male-to-male pairings among penguins, some of which have also included the rearing of chicks.

Homosexual behaviour is well documented in many different animals, but it is not understood in detail, says Professor Stuart West, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford.

Professor West says it has been suggested that homosexual activity could serve various purposes - for instance, it may relate to social bonding and establishment of dominance among bonobo chimps, while in some bird species, females may come together to rear young.

Other animals may simply exhibit a "drive to mate", while others may, like humans, enjoy non-procreative sexual activity.

"Homosexuality is nothing unusual among animals," Bremerhaven zoo said on Wednesday.

"Sex and coupling up in our world do not necessarily have anything to do with reproduction."

8 comments:

Wildeyearnings said...

Hmm.. puts a spin in the whole natural vs unnatural debate doesn't it? :)

Leonardo Ricardo said...

I like it when you are happy.

Bolton said...

Gug:
So nice to read a "joyful" entry on GayUganda!

Do you know the book "Biological Exuberance" by Bruce Bagemihl? It includes studies (and photographs) of 190 animal species which regularly practice same-sex relationships! That's about as "natural" as one can get!

Anonymous said...

"Paul L. Vasey, of the University of Lethbridge in Canada, nevertheless cautions:
For some people, what animals do is a yardstick of what is and isn't natural. They make a leap from saying if it's natural, it's morally and ethically desirable. Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense. We shouldn't be using animals to craft moral and social policies for the kinds of human societies we want to live in. Animals don't take care of the elderly. I don't particularly think that should be a platform for closing down nursing homes

Thus, man is characterized not by what he has in common with animals, but by what differentiates him from them. This differentiation is fundamental, not accidental. Man is a rational animal. Man's rationality is what makes human nature unique and fundamentally distinct from animal nature.

To consider man strictly as an animal is to deny his rationality and, therefore, his free will. Likewise, to consider animals as if they were human is to attribute to them a non-existent rationality. "

Anonymous said...

The correct quotes follow. Sorry

"Paul L. Vasey, of the University of Lethbridge in Canada, nevertheless cautions:
For some people, what animals do is a yardstick of what is and isn't natural. They make a leap from saying if it's natural, it's morally and ethically desirable. Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense. We shouldn't be using animals to craft moral and social policies for the kinds of human societies we want to live in. Animals don't take care of the elderly. I don't particularly think that should be a platform for closing down nursing homes

... Maria Bruti adds


"Thus, man is characterized not by what he has in common with animals, but by what differentiates him from them. This differentiation is fundamental, not accidental. Man is a rational animal. Man's rationality is what makes human nature unique and fundamentally distinct from animal nature.

To consider man strictly as an animal is to deny his rationality and, therefore, his free will. Likewise, to consider animals as if they were human is to attribute to them a non-existent rationality. "

spiralx said...

Fair comment, Anon. But I think you're missing the point here.

No-one's making leaps to moral desirability; or crafting social judgements on thse particular grounds.

It does go part-way to answering those religious bigots who go on about homosexuality not being "natural" (whatever that means). Esp. the African bigots who start frothing on about gay people being "lower than dogs and pigs", etc. (yes you, Dame. Roberta Mugarbage, amongst others closer to home!).

This is one illustration of the now-known pattern of homosexual behaviour in animals - both in the wild, and in captivity.

And another of the many examples of how we are simply one part of the natural animal world, even if we can do thinking stuff that most other animals can't.

Wet Blanket said...

As I (and gug) have said before, they use it all against us. They tell us: "Not even the animals do it" so we shouldn't. We point out that animals do it too, and they say: "how can you justify yoursleves by what the animals do?". We can't win reasoned debate because the opposition is not reasonable.

Gug, are yo ok? It's been a long time since you posted.

spiralx said...

Yeah, gug. Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Out & about with the camera?

Gonna give us your Scenic Wonders Of Kampala Tour sometime, here?

(Hot graphic porn scenes from your bedroom, replete with willies and "bum-shafting"?).

Post a Comment