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New York Zoo Welcomes First Penguin Chick Hatched by Same-Sex Couple

New York Zoo Welcomes First Penguin Chick Hatched by Same-Sex Couple

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo of Syracuse, New York just welcomed the newest member of its family.

On Friday, the zoo announced a Humboldt penguin chick hatched from an egg that was being cared for by a male penguin couple.

The zoo added that the adult male Humboldt penguins, Elmer and Lima, are raising the chick that hatched on Jan. 1.

According to a news release, the zoo has relied on foster couples to incubate eggs in the past. However, Elmer and Lima are the zoo’s first same-sex foster couple.

Penguin Chick Hatched by Same-Sex Pair at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Penguin Chick Hatched by Same-Sex Pair at Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Lima
| Credit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

“It was their first time fostering and they really knocked it out of the park,” said April Zimpel, a bird manager at the zoo said in a news release.

The zoo has had instances where at least two breeding pairs of penguins unintentionally broke their fertilized eggs. Zookeepers often exchange a dummy egg for a real one and give it to a more successful pair to incubate, the zoo explained. This helps ensure the egg hatches safety.

Penguin Chick Hatched by Same-Sex Pair

Penguin Chick Hatched by Same-Sex Pair
Penguin Chick Hatched by Same-Sex Pair
| Credit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

“Some pairs, when given a dummy egg, will sit on the nest but leave the egg to the side and not incubate it correctly, or they’ll fight for who is going to sit on it,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox per the news release.

“That’s how we evaluate who will be good foster parents — and Elmer and Lima were exemplary in every aspect of egg care.”

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Elmer and Chick
| Credit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Other places around the world have seen same-sex penguin couples either foster eggs or become parents including the Oceanogràfic Valencia aquarium in Spain, Berlin Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo.

“Elmer and Lima’s success at fostering is one more story that our zoo can share to help people of all ages and backgrounds relate to animals,” added Fox.