Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Harry and Pepper, the San Francisco Zoo's Gay Penguins

The two male penguins drew international attention when they started nesting together in 2003. By 2008, they had adopted, incubated and hatched an egg abandoned by fellow penguins. Their romance turned icy this winter when Harry was lured to the burrow of a recently widowed penguin. (Magellanic penguins like Harry and Pepper, who hail from South America, typically mate with the same partner for life.) "Linda seems conniving," the penguin's caretaker told the San Francisco Examiner in July, after confirming that Harry had left Pepper to nest with his mistress. "I don't think she wanted to be a single girl for too long." Brokenhearted, Pepper lashed out at his former lover, and zookeepers had to temporarily remove him from the enclosure. He returned to an empty nest but had gained the support of new fans around the world. One angry blogger described Linda as a "home wrecker" who "lives for her own happiness, no matter who gets hurt," and another expressed his hope that Pepper "finds another male penguin that is 10 times hotter than Harry!"