Same-sex penguins celebrate World Penguin Day with surrogate foster chick

Pictured: Thelma and Louise with their foster chick born on February 25, 2017.

Photograph Richard Robinson © 2017.
Pictured: Thelma and Louise with their foster chick born on February 25, 2017. Photograph Richard Robinson © 2017.

It’s World Penguin Day today and if that wasn’t already sweet enough, there are two same-sex penguins celebrating the day with their surrogate foster chick by their side. Aptly named Thelma and Louise, the two female penguins are showering their bundle of joy with love today and every day. The baby penguin was born on February 25, 2017. Celebrating its two month birthday on World Penguin Day, this little chick has two wonderful moms looking after it as it grows. 

Thelma and Louise are both 24 year old king penguins and live among other king penguins and Gentoo penguins at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand. Raising any kind of child, human or animal, as a single parent can be challenging, especially for a penguin who needs to incubate their egg on their feet for 55 days whilc still managing to take care of itself. Combine that responsibility with being abandoned by the father of your penguin chick, and it can be hard for any parent. These same-sex penguin parents were excited to welcome their foster chick and care for it after the biological mother was abandoned. 

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's Auckland and Tourism New Zealand World Penguin Day campaign.  Tuesday 18 April 2017. Photograph Richard Robinson © 2017.

This isn’t the first instance we’ve heard of same-sex penguins nurturing a chick. A gay penguin couple at a Chinese zoo cared for a baby chick to help a struggling mother, and there’s even a famous gay penguin couple from the Central Park Zoo that inspired a children’s book. We always knew penguins were cool.

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