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Forbidden Love
November 7, 2011 2:34 PM   Subscribe

A famous gay couple has decided to separate, citing irreconcilable differences force by zookeepers.
posted by hermitosis (35 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
All dressed up for a wedding that will never come. You have to admit they look good though.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:37 PM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh man. The anthropomorphising is going to be explosive with this.

Not that it isn't sad they will be separated. But human relationships are not like penguin relationships. Just ask my boyfriend who was not pleased that I built a rocky nest on our bed for our eggs.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:40 PM on November 7, 2011 [36 favorites]


Can humans force pair-bonded penguins apart and make them choose a new mate from a selected pool?

Even among heterosexual penguins, is this possible?

Happy Feet taught me that they choose their mates based on sharing compatible heartsongs. Don't tell me that isn't true!!!
posted by hippybear at 2:43 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't see where it says they're separating them.
posted by empath at 2:48 PM on November 7, 2011


Fifth paragraph in the first FPP link:

"They have top-notch genes, so the zoo intends to separate them from each other and pair them with females for breeding."
posted by hippybear at 2:51 PM on November 7, 2011


I don't see where it says they're separating them.

Second link:

But sadly, even though the pair frequently engage in "courtship and mating behaviors that females and males would do," according to one keeper, zoo officials say they intend to separate the birds from each other and pair them with females for breeding, as African penguins are an endangered species.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:52 PM on November 7, 2011


well, that's a bummer. But to be fair to the zookeepers - I thought at first it was going to be separation because of an ideology thing, like 'we can't allow gay penguins!' I'm not sure splitting them up for reproduction purposes is right, but it isn't as bad as it could be?
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:56 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pleasepleaseplease let Danny Devito be the best-man at their wedding.
posted by mannequito at 2:58 PM on November 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


So they're really bisexual?
posted by maxwelton at 3:02 PM on November 7, 2011


Hope they have more luck with these two than the zoo keepers had with Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan. (Found by way of the very long Wikipedia page on homosexual behavior in animals.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:05 PM on November 7, 2011


Can humans force pair-bonded penguins apart and make them choose a new mate from a selected pool?

In the wild, penguins are not lifetime monogomists, they're serial monogamists -- Every year they choose a new mate, but for that year they are monogamous and they do come back to each other after their months-long food expeditions and whatnot, and to help raise the youngster. But the next year they choose new mates. In zoos, they do tend to stay together for many years instead of just the one year of wild Penguins, but presumably if their mate disappears for whatever reason, they're perfectly happy to get a new mate the next year. In 2005 a gay penguin couple in the Central Park Zoo broke up when one went straight, and I think it happened in Boston too but I didn't find a link in my 20 seconds of searching.
posted by brainmouse at 3:17 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a reason they can't use some form of artificial insemination? I mean, I assume if the zoo knows that they have top-notch genes, they have at least some of the requisite technology to do something like in vitro fertilization.
posted by overglow at 3:21 PM on November 7, 2011


I thought at first it was going to be separation because of an ideology thing, like 'we can't allow gay penguins!

So, what you are saying is that the issue wasn't as black and white as it first appeared?

*rimshot*
posted by quin at 3:22 PM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is artificial insemination hard with birds or something?
posted by jeffburdges at 3:26 PM on November 7, 2011


Well, I'm not gonna be the one to jerk off a bunch of gay penguins.
posted by cmoj at 3:34 PM on November 7, 2011 [17 favorites]


I imagine they don't want to go the artificial insemination route because penguin fathers tend to do a lot of the egg-incubating and parenting. They would ideally want a bonded pair of penguin parents, both invested in the offspring, for successful reproduction.

I get the whole saving the species thing but this still makes me sad. Birds really do bond strongly when they bond to a partner. When one of my sister's pair of lesbian cockatiels died, the other pined and pulled her feathers out for months.
posted by BlueJae at 4:03 PM on November 7, 2011


MetaFilter: I'm not gonna be the one to jerk off a bunch of gay penguins
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:03 PM on November 7, 2011


It may not do any good. There have been a number of recorded cases of gay penguins, and probably more than we know, because apparently it is not easy to tell a penguins gender. Historically the zookeepers try to separate them, but it rarely works, although a few can be tempted by a female if their preferred mate disappears, just as any penguine may re-mate if their preferred partner does not return for the next mating season.

But it takes time, and complete separation. In the end, they may end up ignoring females to court another male. If so, I hope the zookeepers will relent and let them get back together again. If they are not willing to be bio-dads, perhaps they can adopt, as Roy and Silo did, increasing the number of penguin chicks that way.
posted by pbrim at 4:12 PM on November 7, 2011


Oh man. Think of the publicity if they do manage to separate them and hook them up with female partners. Every mom with a gay son is going to think there is hope.....
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:47 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Z and Vielpunkt in Germany adopt.

And in China, another gay couple was given a wedding ceremony as a reward for being adoptive parents - the best parents in the zoo.
posted by likeso at 4:49 PM on November 7, 2011


Did anyone else read this and think it was about Siegfried and Roy?
posted by Brodiggitty at 4:50 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else read this and think it was about Siegfried and Roy?

No. Roy was mauled and retired years ago. What kind of a sicko are you?!??!
posted by hippybear at 4:57 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


In a weird way, my childhood dog was probably the most defining character in my acceptance of gays. He was a sheltie named Pogo, and very well bred, and so we were connected with the owners of a gorgeous sheltie named Trixie, for breeding with. This is all silly, but in my ten-year-old mind, I thought this was the most adorable thing, because Pogo and Trixie looked like the real-life-version of how Disney would have depicted two shelties in a romance.

Except it didn't take. At all.

According to the grown-ups who understood a lot more than I did, Trixie was game, but Pogo wouldn't have anything to do with it. And after several attempts, it was just simply determined that Pogo was gay, and that was that. And it wasn't like with Stan in "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride," but rather with the simple child-like factual understanding of, "nope, my dog's gay."

And when you grow up with a gay dog, it's hard to harbor hate for gays, or to believe it's unnatural.

Of course, when Pogo was elderly and we brought in a female puppy for companionship (and, yes, eventual replacement) they had to be separated because he couldn't help himself, which was more disturbing, but by that point the lesson had taken strong enough root, so it's all good.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:03 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Good. Their lifestyle choice was already threatening to destroy traditional penguin marriage.

Here's an interesting question: polar bears never eat penguins. Why?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 8:25 PM on November 7, 2011


Because polar bears live only in the North, and penguins don't.
posted by cmoj at 8:30 PM on November 7, 2011


They don't go to the same restaurants.
posted by XMLicious at 8:52 PM on November 7, 2011


Dammit, cmoj, I was hoping for a longer run with that silly joke.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:17 PM on November 7, 2011


Sorry, I've heard that passed off as "interesting trivia" a few times and there's nothing I hate worse than bad trivia.
posted by cmoj at 9:28 PM on November 7, 2011


And no mention of this episode of Parks and Recreation?
posted by mindless progress at 12:50 AM on November 8, 2011


mindless progress, never seen the show but I emailed the article to a friend today and she just replied with the same thing
posted by mannequito at 1:56 AM on November 8, 2011


If some people think stupid jokes like that one are "trivia", I'm right there with you, cmoj.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:02 AM on November 8, 2011


Don't fret. As soon as they've impregnated some female penguins, Pedro and Buddy will be allowed to live together again.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:34 AM on November 8, 2011


Here's an interesting question: polar bears never eat penguins. Why?

Because teh gay is catching?


Poor gay 'guins. Zookeepers, can't you let them life the lifestyle they have chosen?
posted by BlueHorse at 7:15 PM on November 8, 2011


This isn't at all relevant, but my niece fell in love with Dora the Explorer at a very early age, when she was just learning to talk. So I guess she didn't understand the concept of two languages, so for a long time she thought penguins were just called penguinos, plain and simple. She had a lot of this spanglish as a child. We never corrected her.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:16 AM on November 9, 2011


Gay Penguin Couple’s Reunion Isn’t the Happy Ending We Hoped For
posted by homunculus at 12:02 PM on November 14, 2011


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