Sunday, November 13, 2011

On Rainbow Love, Being Mad Scary & Just Plain Mad

Today I have three pictures for you. A pair and a spare so to speak. Except the spare is the lead picture.

This picture comes via Yahoo Images from which is a gay men's e-zine site.

It is appropriate that the place the picture originated or at least came from last was a gay site because that is exactly what I am going to talk about now.

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the news (tv, print, internet) in the last week or two, heres the story. It seems that the a Canadian Zoo - the Toronto Zoo in fact, is going to split up a pair of seemingly gay Africian penquins named Buddy and Pedro. They claim, and it seems from reading a rather complete article on the website , it is to ensure the survival of the species. According to that article, penquins used to number an estimated just under a quarter of a million wild Africian penquins as late as the 1990's. Now, the numbers have nosedived to more like just over 50,000.

So Buddy, 20 and Pedro, 10 (gay human men are often said to partner up with others of quite different ages so I thought that that age difference here with the gay male penquins was ironic, if that is the right word, and just very, very funny), need to be split up. At least it seems for the short term.

The gay Canadian penquins are not the first gay penquins either. It seems that there were some at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. The Manhattan zoo's penquins were named Roy and Silo (ages unknown - lol) and they apparently chinstrap penquins. They got together in 1998 and were still together as of early 2004 according to the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle. The article says that they were offered female companions and flatly turned them down. No loss to the females who were said not to be interested either! LOL.

Lets get back to Buddy and Pedro though. Unlike Roy and Silo, the females at the Toronto Zoo are seemingly hoping that Buddy and Pedro are bisexual. ' "The two girls have been following them; we just have to get the boys interested in looking at them," said Tom Mason, curator of birds and invertebrates at the Toronto Zoo ' according to the article. As I said before though, the zoo says that once they've done there duty they will be put back together. Asking them to "take one for the team" may or may not work though. On the may side gay (bi?) penquins in yet other zoos have successfully been remated.

On the may not side, it's said that penquins mate for life. Which means that either there are also such things as bi penquins who possibly mate with one of each sex (for life) or that they again were bi and hadn't fully mated with their same sex partners. Or maybe, just maybe, "experts" don't know as much as they think they do. LOL.

Oh, and jumping back to Roy and Silo (because that's how the story flowed), there is a pretty funny story about them. It seems that they really wanted to be parents (shades of the human homosexual community again to anthromorphize a bit) so they found an appropriate sized rock and took turns sitting on it. Isn't that cute. What's even better is that there was an abandoned egg that the zoo then let them hatch and then take care of the baby, named Tango, for the first 2-1/2 months of his life until he was ready to go it alone. This, in fact, became a book called "And Tango Makes Three"

So the controversy that has insued over the breakup may all be for naught. The zoo did after all say they would "re-patriate" the couple upon completion of their duties in the name of repopulation. It's hard to say if that consession was a result of the controversy. Finally, it is worth noting that at the New England Aquarium, penquins are regularly split up. This is not however because they are same sex mating and therefore not reproducing. It is again for the future of the species but the reasoning is different. The penquins are separated and re-matched because of being too closely related. Kissing cousins or just too closely genetically matched, I'm not sure. But it does go to show that perhaps this is not about homophobia. Let's hope not. It is 2011.
Now I'll leave you with the last two pictures which are not "naturalistic" pictures like the first one was. These are in honor of the fact that the story, which serves to remind that homosexuality/bisexuality is quite common in the animal world and in the case of penquins said to be "quite rampant", was brought to light thanks to the gay community - a mad scary one that you don't want to mess with :)

This is of course the Rainbow Love part of the title.

This being the Mad Scary part. Oh, and remember if penquins are mad scary and gay people can be mad scary then just think about what you get when you combine the two.


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