Male penguin pair pursuing females

Dec. 12, 2011 at 5:36 PM
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TORONTO, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Two male penguins who shared a nest may just have been each other's wing man, as Toronto Zoo officials say both are now pursuing the opposite sex.

After the African penguins Buddy and Pedro drew international attention this fall for their close relationship that included nesting and swimming together, zoo officials separated them so they could mate with females, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday

Buddy has paired up with a female, while Pedro had his eyes on one he'd like to get to know better, Tom Mason, Toronto Zoo's curator of birds and invertebrates, said Sunday.

"Pedro is ready to go but his prospective mate is quite shy," Mason told the CBC. "She's not quite ready to go, but they're beginners."

Pedro, 10, and Buddy, 21, arrived at the Toronto Zoo last year from Toledo, Ohio. Buddy had a female partner for 10 years and they had some offspring before she died. Pedro has yet to become a father.

Mason noted it's not uncommon for penguins to have a non-sexual, same-sex "social bond," especially when female penguins aren't around.

"When the opposite pairs do show up, the same sex bond tends to break down," he said.

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