Genderless Penguin Chick Adopted By Same-Sex Penguin Couple 

Posted on December 24th 2019

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An aquarium in London has announced that for the first time a penguin same-sex couple will act as parents for a “genderless” chick. The chick is four months old and given the lack of gender is not being given a name said Sea Life London. The chick sill be raised by a female penguin couple Rocky and Marama who were given the egg because the birth mother had two chicks and faced too much pressure raising both.

First genderless penguin chick

This is the first penguin chick that hasn’t had its gender assigned at birth the zoo said. Experts typically assign gender-based names at the zoo but in this case decided it would be far more natural for the chick to mature into an adult genderless which is actually perfectly normal in the wild. The zoo has attached purple tag to the chick’s wing to be able to identify it. Whilst the decision may not sit well with some, gender neutrality in humans has only recently become a topic of conversation.

Penguins develop genders

Nevertheless, it is perfectly natural for penguins to be without gender until maturity. The aquarium says it is very proud of its Gentoo penguin breeding program as well as the wonderful job the same sex penguin couple who have adopted the chick have done. The couple were given the responsibility for raising the chick after demonstrating they were indeed quite close for over six breeding seasons and proving they could create the nesting conditions necessary for raising a chick.

May participate in breeding

The aquarium says the chick may be incorporated into its breeding program after biology determines its gender. Experts say penguins display very little difference in terms of gender beyond biological characteristics and even that is not easy to determine and requires close observation. Both genders exhibit very similar behaviour and act alike, especially when it comes to reproduction because both males and females are equally invested in raising offspring.

This couple is not the first same-sex penguin couple. Earlier last year, two make king penguins at a Berlin zoo also adopted an egg. Other zoos in London, New York and Sydney also have same-sex penguin couples acting as parents. Gentoo penguins have been classified by the IUCN Red List of Threatened species as being near threatened largely as a result of climate change which has had a negative impact on their feeding and nesting habits.

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