Drama worthy of a Lifetime movie has come to the DierenPark zoo in Amersfoort, Netherlands. It’s there that two male African penguins stole a nest’s worth of eggs from two female African penguins, a betrayal that has roiled the Dutch LGBTQ ornithological community.
The park announced the news with a tweet that, possibly due to a less than faithful translation, is quite matter of fact about the whole thing.
“Special news! Our park’s penguin gay couple has taken an entire nest from a lesbian penguin couple this year. Homosexuality is more common in this bird species. Both birds nest on the eggs, alternately guarding the nest!”
Zookeepers sometimes give same-sex pairs of penguins eggs to foster when they start exhibiting signs, like building “nests” out of pebbles, that they’re desperate to be parents. That’s how the lesbian couple came to have a full nest until the boys sneaked over.
Bijzonder nieuws! 🐧🐧 Het pinguïn-homokoppel van ons park heeft dit jaar een heel nest ingenomen van een lesbisch pinguïnstel. Homoseksualiteit komt vaker voor bij deze vogelsoort. Beide vogels broeden op de eieren, om en om bewaken zij het nest! pic.twitter.com/2oOVolLt05
— DierenParkAmersfoort (@dpamersfoort) October 20, 2020
Since the heist, they’ve been taking turns keeping the eggs warm and foraging for fish, caring for the eggs as if they were their own. What’s worse is that this isn’t the first time they’ve done this: last year they stole an egg from a different penguin family.
That egg didn’t hatch, and it’s possible likely that these eggs don’t either. The zookeeper says that there’s a decent chance that the stolen eggs were never fertilized. And while there’s a bit of schadenfreude in that fact, it’s mostly a bummer for all of the penguins and humans involved.
Here’s hoping that both couples can eventually become parents without any more kidnappings.