By Evie Carrick
August 15, 2019
Courtesy of Zoo Berlin

Meng Meng, the Berlin Zoo’s giant panda, is believed to pregnant — but the focus of animal lovers everywhere remains on two male king penguins who have adopted an egg.

The gay king penguins Skipper and Ping in their zoo enclosure. The two penguin men behaved like exemplary parents and warmed the egg alternately in their belly fold.
picture alliance/Getty Images

Skipper and Ping, a devoted gay couple, have captivated Berlin and much of the world after getting their first real shot at parenthood. The duo has a history of trying to hatch stones and fish, so when a female king penguin with a history of not hatching her previous eggs laid an egg, zoo staff decided to gift it to the couple. CNN reports that zoo spokesman Maximilian Jäger said the couple were happy to have a real egg to tend to after taking turns trying to hatch rocks and bits of food.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the incubation period for a king penguin egg is 55 days, so zoo staff isn’t sure whether the egg is fertilized or not. If the egg is viable, the hatchling will be the zoo’s first penguin born to two fathers.

Skipper and Ping were brought to Berlin from a Hamburg zoo in April. It was immediately obvious that the two had a special bond.

Skipper and Ping are not the first gay penguin couple to make the news — or even hatch an abandoned egg. Two Humboldt penguins at the ZSL London Zoo hatched an egg in 2015 and in 2018, two male gentoo penguins welcomed a baby.

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