Sunday, September 24, 2006

nature or nuture?

Zoo tempts gay penguins to go straight

A German zoo has imported four female penguins from Sweden in an effort
to tempt its gay penguins to go straight.

The four Swedish females were dispatched to the Bremerhaven Zoo in
Bremen after it was found that three of the zoo's five penguin pairs
were homosexual.

Keepers at the zoo ordered DNA tests to be carried out on the penguins
after they had been mating for years without producing any chicks.

It was only then they realised that six of the birds were living in
homosexual partnerships.

Director Heike Kueck said that the zoo hoped to see some baby penguins
in the coming months.

She said that the birds had been mating for years and one couple even
adopted a stone that they protected like an egg.

Kueck said that the project has the support of the European Endangered
Species Programme because the penguins, which are native to South
America, are an endangered species.

A biologist will be on hand to monitor the experiment.

But introducing the Bremerhaven penguins to their new Swedish friends
may not be as successful as hoped after earlier experiments revealed
great difficulties in separating homosexual couples.

In case they show no interest, the zoo has also flown in two new male
penguins "so that the ladies don't miss out altogether", Kueck added.

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