The most aww-inducing story of the week must surely go to the gay king penguin couple that rescued a chick they thought was being neglected. An avian social services, if you will.
The incident occurred at Odense Zoo in Denmark, where staff told Danish broadcaster DR the mischievous couple “kidnapped” the chick while its biological father was on a wander – and clearly neglecting his paternal responsibilities.
"I think the female has been out to get her bath, and then it has been the male's turn to care for the kid," Sandie Hedegård Munck, an animal keeper at the zoo, told DR. "He may have left that, and that couple has thought, it's a pity, we'll get it."
Which is extremely bad parenting on the part of the baby daddy. Penguin expert Dyan de Napoli told Newsweek, "In the wild, the natural behavior is that up until a certain age, one of the parents will always be with the chick."
So, how did the penguin parents react when they returned to find their chick had gone AWOL? Apparently, the father didn't even appear to notice. He continued to waddle around as if he had never had a kid in the first place. The mother (evidently the more nurturing of the pair) was seen searching for her chick.
"I know that the female is very caring for the kid, and she is also very aggressive to us animal lovers if we get too close to the kid," Munck added.
According to NBC News, staff decided not to get involved and would have allowed the foster parents to keep their adoptee had the biological parents not gone looking for it. But the day after the kidnapping, they did.
The incident culminated with a confrontation and a small altercation. (Don't worry, no birds were hurt.) With a little help from the keepers, the chick was returned to its biological parents
These penguins are not the first gay animal couple to adopt a baby in need. In 2014, Wingham Wildlife Park's Jumbs and Kermit – two male Humboldt penguins – raised a chick after its mother abandoned it because her partner had refused to help incubate it. The park owner praised the pair, calling them "two of the best penguin parents we have had yet". There have also been stories of homosexual vultures and bisexual polyamorous geese with similar outcomes.
The good news here is that there is a happy ending for the gay penguin couple too. Keepers have given the two male penguins an egg from a single mother unable to rear a chick on her own.