Kent gay penguins are 'the best parents in the zoo' after rearing a chick together

Male Humboldt penguins Jumbs and Kermit have become surrogate parents

Heather Saul
Wednesday 14 May 2014 17:26 BST

Two gay penguins at a Kent wildlife park have adopted a young chick after its father refused to incubate it.

Male Humboldt penguins Jumbs and Kermit have captivated keepers and visitors to Wingham Wildlife Park after the inseparable pair built a nest together.

They were first seen pairing in 2012 and their union left the park's two females without a mate.

However, in the weeks before they adopted the chick the pair began fighting. Staff decided to place a dummy egg into their nest to see if it would stop them squabbling.

But when Hurricane the penguin refused to incubate an egg laid by his partner Isobel, staff decided to taken action by replacing the dummy egg with a real one when their nest was left unattended.

“He is a very inconsiderate partner who is happy to get Isobel pregnant, however at that point Hurricane seems to think that his job is done,” Jackie Binskin, Tony’s wife explained.

"It was lucky that we had done this [given them a dummy egg], because we were able to swap the dummy egg for a real one.”

Staff said Jumbs and Kermit have since proved to be the most competent penguin parents in the park, with CCTV capturing footage of the pair swapping shifts and even feeding the chick after it hatched on 12 April.

The chick, which has yet to be named, is now a month old and weighs a healthy 500g.

Park owner Tony Binskin said: “At first we were apprehensive and prepared to go in and remove the baby or assist the new foster parents by supplementing their feed.

“But all we have had to do was to take the chick out once a day to weigh it to ensure that it is growing as it should.

“We are still very much starting our breeding efforts with this species, and this is only our second year, but having such good surrogate parents available should we need them is a huge bonus for us.

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