A same-sex penguin couple adopted a Gentoo chick and it will now be the first penguin in the world to not have its gender assigned.
The big announcement came Tuesday from Sea Life London that the four-month-old chick will not be characterized either as male or female and instead will be identified with the use of a purple tag, per CNN. (RELATED: Giant Parrots Used To Roam Ancient New Zealand, According To Newly-Discovered Fossils)
An adopted Gentoo chick raised by a same-sex penguin couple will become the world’s first penguin to not have its gender assigned.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 10, 2019
The two female penguins, named Rocky and Marama, were given the egg to help relieve the pressures on the penguin’s birth mother of raising two chicks. (RELATED: Police Take Parrot Into Custody After It Tries To Help Drug Dealers Escape)
Experts “decided it was more natural for the chick to grow and develop into a mature adult as genderless which is normal in the wild until they mature,” according to a press release from the aquarium.
“While the decision may ruffle a few feathers, gender neutrality in humans has only recently become a widespread topic of conversation, however, it is completely natural for penguins to develop genderless identities as they grow into mature adults,” General Manager Graham McGrath shared.
“What makes us really proud at the aquarium is the success of Sea Life London’s Gentoo breeding program and the amazing job of same-sex penguins Rocky and Marama who took the chick under their wing and raised it as their own,” he added.
According to the report:
Dr Gemma Clucas, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said that male and female penguins displayed little difference beyond biological characteristics, which required close and “difficult” observation to distinguish.
“The two sexes in penguins behave very similarly to one another,” Glucas told CNN. “They look almost identical to one another. Behaviorally, they act very similarly as well, particularly in terms of reproduction — both males and females invest pretty equally in raising their chicks.”