Some people—or in this case penguins—are destined to parent together. Two male penguins Skipper and Ping, who are residents at Berlin Zoo, are determined to defy the odds and raise a child side by side. The 10-year-old penguins have previously displayed their longing to nurture, by attempting to hatch stones and even fish, Reuters reports. But their longstanding dreams may come true very soon, as the two have adopted an egg abandoned by its mother. If all goes well and the egg is fertile, Skipper and Ping will finally become parents by early September.
Zookeepers say that the pair of king penguins have been “looking after the egg in an exemplary manner.” This doesn’t come as a surprise to zoo workers, who only placed the egg in their vicinity after watching them attempt to hatch stones and other objects since they arrived from a Hamburg zoo in April, according to Popular Science.
This would not only be a win for the penguin duo, but their feat would also mark a milestone for Berlin Zoo. If the egg is actually fertilized, the dads could facilitate the zoo’s first hatching since 2002. That’s because the group of six king penguins at the zoo consists of only one female, who zookeepers say has a habit of abandoning her eggs. The penguins lay single eggs that must be kept warm for about 55 days, Popular Science explains. Meaning, abandoning an egg prevents the egg from surviving. In order for an egg to successfully hatch, it requires the effort of two parents taking turns guarding the egg and finding food.
“We just had to put it in front of one of the males. He immediately knew what to do. This is the first time we have tried to have a same-sex penguin couple incubate an egg,” keeper Norbert Zahmel tells Reuters.
Watch the couple taking turns guarding their egg in a video the zoo posted on Facebook.
Skipper and Ping aren’t the first same-sex penguin parents to make headlines. Several years ago, New York penguin partners Roy and Silo were given an egg after zookeepers watched them perform mating rituals together. Their co-parenting resulted in the hatching of baby Tango, according to The New York Times. After six years together, the penguins went their separate ways, but their love story still lives on in the hearts of fans.
As for Skipper and Ping, we’ll be on Berlin Zoo baby watch to see how their adorable story unfolds. With any luck, their duo will become a trio in no time at all.