Gay penguins left in peace after breeding plans stall

Two male king penguins who didn't quite live up to their keepers' plans for them to go forth and multiply have been moved from Berlin to Hamburg zoo.

Gay penguins left in peace after breeding plans stall
King penguins in Berlin zoo in 2014. File photo: DPA

“They're gay, as far as we know,” said Berlin Zoo spokeswoman Christiane Reiss of penguins Stan and Olli.

“They never bred. And when it came to courtship, they only mated with one another.”

Stan and Olli were brought to Berlin under the European Conservation Programme (EEP) in a bid to bring more baby king penguins into the world and ensure the future of the species.

Stan (left) and Olli (right) pictured in their enclosure in Hamburg on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

But now they're acclimatizing to their new life in Hamburg where they'll be exclusively in the company of other males – including another homosexual couple, Juan and Carlos – and free to be themselves.

Even their names have changed since the move to the northerly port city.

“We're calling them Kalle and Grobi now,” Hamburg penguin keeper Dave Nelde said.

Penguins, it seems, have been at the forefront of the fight for gay rights in Germany, where same-sex marriage is not legal and gay couples have very limited adoption rights.

Two gay penguins at Bremerhaven Zoo pushed boundaries, however, when in 2009 they “adopted” an egg that had been cast aside by a heterosexual pair, working together to hatch the baby.

SEE ALSO: Dortmund zoo suffers second mystery death

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Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains

A swan mourning the death of its companion on a German railway track held up 23 trains for almost an hour and had to be removed by firefighters using special equipment, police said.

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains
A swan sat on the tracks, mourning its companion. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bundespolizei/Bundespolizei

The two birds had strayed onto the track area of the high-speed line between Kassel and Göttingen in central Germany “during an excursion”, according to Kassel police.

One of the birds died, likely after getting caught in the overhead power cables, said the statement on the December 23rd incident, which was made public late on Monday.

Its companion then sat beside the body in mourning, resisting attempts by officials to lure it away and temporarily closing the line to traffic.

Firefighters with special equipment were later called in and managed to lift the dead swan and its surviving companion away from the area.

Twenty-three trains were delayed for about 50 minutes while the rescue operation took place, the police statement said.

The surviving swan was unharmed and later released onto the river Fulda, it

According to Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, swans try to find a mate for life.