An adorable little penguin chick adopted by a same sex penguin couple at Sea Life London will be raised gender neutral.
Same sex mamas Rocky and Marama adopted the sweet chick four months ago, after having proven themselves ready to become penguin mothers by building the biggest and best nest in the colony.
I can’t help but imagine they also had to sit some sort of exam where they had to listen to Baby Shark on repeat while inhaling the aroma of burped up milk.
Prior to being welcomed into Rocky and Marama’s family with open wings, the chick was removed from their birth mother while still in the eggshell. The birth mother had laid two eggs, with the second one removed to alleviate some of the pressure.
This bundle of penguin joy marks the very first time the aquarium has chosen to have an animal raised without assigning them a gender.
The young penguin – who has yet to be christened – will be given a gender neutral name along the lines of Kelly, Alex or Charlie. They will also be easily recognisable by the purple tag on their wing, with purple widely regarded to be a gender neutral colour.
Although this may seem like quite a modern notion, penguins out in the wild have long had genderless identities before reaching maturity.
Graham McGrath, General Manager at Sea Life London, has given the following comment:
While the decision may ruffle a few feathers, gender neutrality in humans has only recently become a widespread topic of conversation.
However, it is completely natural for penguins to develop genderless identities as they grow into mature adults.
What makes us really proud at the aquarium is the success of SEA LIFE London’s Gentoo breeding programme and the amazing job of same sex penguins Rocky and Marama who took the chick under their wing and raised it as their own.
As reported by Metro, Rocky and Marama have shown themselves to be top mums, taking an equal role in the upbringing of their chick.
They reportedly take it in turns to care for the baby in shifts, allowing the other busy mum the chance to take a much needed time out.
General manager Graham McGrath added:
Marama and Rocky have taken to becoming parents like ducks to water – or should I say penguins.
Caring for a newborn is tough for anyone, from the sleepless nights to the constant feeding, yet this wonderful pair of penguin parents are completely unflappable and seem to be taking it all in their stride.
Congratulations to Rocky and Marama on this gorgeous little addition to their family!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.