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Same-sex penguin couple fails to hatch egg in Berlin

Berlin zoo’s star couple, Skipper and Ping, are desperate to start a family. But they had some sad news this week.

Same-sex penguin couple fails to hatch egg in Berlin
Skipper and Ping in Berlin zoo. Photo: DPA

The two male emperor penguins had adopted an egg in their quest to have a little one of their own. 

But Berlin Zoo said Thursday that the egg “burst open” on September 2nd and it had not been fertilized.

Staff at Berlin Zoo had given the amorous couple an egg, which they swiftly began to incubate in August, as The Local reported.

The egg came from another pair who in recent years “have not got along 100 percent and who have therefore often damaged their eggs”, said zookeepers Norbert Zahmel.

Skipper and Ping, both 10-years-old, were an “excellent” choice to become adoptive parents, he had added.

They had even tried in the past to hatch a stone in their bid to become parents.

But staff are hopeful they will get a chick of their own.  A spokesman told The Local: “Even though Skipper and Ping did not have any luck with this year's breed, they will surely get the opportunity to become parents again in the future.”

The pair moved to Berlin from Hamburg's Hagenbeck Zoo in April, and have been inseparable ever since.

Gay penguins of either sex are not unusual, and can be found in the wild and in captivity.

New arrivals

The news came after the zoo welcomed panda twins. Meng Meng gave birth to two gorgeous cubs on Saturday.

“Meng Meng and her two offspring coped well with the birth and are in good health,” said Zoo director Andreas Knieriem on Monday.

READ ALSO: Berlin panda Meng Meng gives birth to twins

The newborn pandas. Photo: DPA

The first boy was born shortly before 7pm on Saturday. Almost an hour later the second followed.

The new panda mother and the offspring's father Jiao Qing have been living in Berlin Zoo since summer 2017. They are both on loan from a reserve in Chengdu, China.

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ANIMALS

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
added.

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

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