Penguin couple Electra and Viola have just welcomed their first baby – and neither they nor their handlers could be happier.
The Oceanogràfic València aquarium in Spain recently announced that same-sex penguin couple Electra and Viola have become moms after incubating and hatching an adopted egg, Mirror reports.
It all started when the aquariums caregivers noticed the two lovebirds were displaying signs they were ready to have a chick – such as building a nest from pebbles – despite not being able to reproduce together.
“The stones are a precious asset for these animals, so that’s usually a matter of controversy because [they take ownership of these pebbles] and defending them can end in a dispute,” the aquarium's website stated. “In fact, the pebbles can be part of the male’s courtship process.
“The incubation is
carried out by the father and the mother, who take turns every day. The eggs – normally
two for each laying – hatch at 38 days and the chicks usually become
independent at 75 days with an approximate weight of 6-7 kilograms.”
To reward Electra and Viola’s readiness and willingness to become parents, caretakers decided to take a fertile egg from another couple and give it to the two female penguins. The other couple was reportedly unfazed by the removal of their egg and has since produced another one, according to People.
The caregivers' efforts paid off, with Electra and Viola “successfully carrying out the entire breeding process” – something that was a first for the Oceanogràfic València aquarium.
“We are very proud of the moms,” the aquarium said on their Instagram page.
Although the aquarium are
delighted with their “exceptional” pair, they did note same-sex couples in the
animal kingdom are “common in more than 450 species both in zoos and in nature”.
In 2018, male penguins Sphen and Magic – known as Sphengic – also incubated and hatched an egg, according to CBS News.
The pair, housed at the Sea Life Aquarium in Sydney, Australia, started collecting pebbles during the breeding season to create a nest. Caregivers then gave them a dummy egg to see how committed they were to being parents.
After passing the test, the two were given a fertile egg and welcomed their chick in October 2018.
Now isn’t this all something to cheep about.