CHECKING ON THE CHICK: The proud new parent protects his newborn baby from the Dispatch cameras at East London's Aquarium yesterday. Picture: THEO JEPTHA
Gay birds turn into caring parents
AFTER a nervous fortnight as new parents, two gay East London penguins are happily settling into their unaccustomed role.
The two male penguins, Molly and Guido, who had been incubating a fertilised egg, became parents 16 days ago, and Buffalo City chief marine services officer Siani Tinley said they were carrying out their parental duties effectively.
“They are doing a magic job. They are very caring parents – they are taking turns in warming and feeding their baby,” she said.
She said the chick would be in the nest for the next four to five weeks.
“A penguin baby normally spends 12 weeks in the nest; after that it is ready to fend for itself.”
The two birds have been a couple for the past four years and have always been a couple, hence the staff assumed they were a male and a female.
Tinley said they then decided to put an egg under them, but it rolled out of the nest.
After further false starts, staff found them nesting on a cool drink bottle.
“We took the bottle away and replaced it with an artificial egg.”
Then, fortunately for Molly and Guido, there was another couple which had two eggs.
“We took one of those fertile eggs and put it in their nest and they incubated it successfully,” she said.
Tinley said they still had to submit blood samples of the chick to determine its gender so they could name it. - By SINO MAJANGAZA