Scots penguins bring love in from the cold
This, at least, is the case with penguins. Keepers from the Bergen Aquarium in Norway are visiting colleagues in Edinburgh to find out how they can re-awaken the romantic instincts of their birds, and reverse the serious lack of reproduction.
Edinburgh zoo will give their Norwegian guests a comprehensive assessment of what had gone wrong with the Gentu penguins' hormones, examining in detail every aspect of their lives from diet to nesting materials.
The 100 or so Gentus in the Scottish zoo have no such problems, leading healthy, well adjusted sex lives in nuclear families, and bringing up well- behaved chicks.
David Field, a penguin keeper at Edinburgh zoo, explained that the birds are remarkably social and romantic creatures, with attitudes which would be considered ideal for the liberated Nineties.
Pairs are loyal to each other, male penguins do not try to prove their machismo by playing around, and the "divorce" rate is extremely low. Partners tend to be changed only after one dies, and then after a period of mourning.
Males, said Mr Field, are the epitome of the modern man. "They play a full part in nest building, incubation and rearing the chicks. The pairs are also remarkably loyal to each other, and tend to stick to the same partner."
Nor are the pairings based purely on lust. The bondings start before the mating season begins and seem to grow stronger over time.
Just as in human relationships, presents mean a lot to a courting penguin. Mr Field explained: "As they prepare their nests, they start to form a very strong pair bond, through the presentation to each other of gifts, like stones, very special stones, which are round and flat, and brightly coloured, as well as small pieces of vegetation." And it is not just the male Gentus who come bearing gifts. The females are just as likely to present their own share of shiny stones and tasteful scrub. They do not seem to think they are being too forward, said Mr Field.
In Oslo, zoologist and author Olivia Sorensen said: "Obviously we are grateful for the help of the British experts. The Gentus are very nice creatures, and we want them to continue to reproduce in Bergen. As for the so-called sexual drive of Scandinavian humans, I always thought that was a strange Anglo-Saxon obsession."
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...