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'Thelma and Louise' penguins raise chick

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/04/2017

Two female penguins, dubbed Thelma and Louise, have successfully hatched an egg at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium and are raising the chick as their own. © Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium Auckland Facebook / @sakurakopi Two female penguins, dubbed Thelma and Louise, have successfully hatched an egg at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium and are raising the chick as their own. A young king penguin chick has been "adopted" by two female penguins in an Auckland aquarium.

The birds, named Thelma and Louise after the 1991 movie starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, have taken over mothering duties after the biological mum of the chick was abandoned by the father, the New Zealand Herald reports.

"King penguins have to incubate their egg on their feet for 55 days. So if you think of all of that stress - you need to eat, bathe and even exercise - mum Shaq was not able to do it by herself as a single mum," Ebony Dwipayana from Kelly Tarlton's aquarium told the paper.

The aquarium made the decision to foster out the egg and the two 24-year-old penguins were successful in hatching the chick.

"They actually love having a chick to look after. Obviously they are not able to have their own, so the fact that they can still raise a healthy chick is amazing for them and it's quite an experience for them to share," Ms Dwipayana said.

It is not uncommon for penguins to bond with a same-sex mate. Probably the most famous gay penguins were Roy and Silo, two Chinstrap penguins living in New York Central Park Zoo. Their romance and fatherhood inspired the children's book "And Tango Makes Three".

More recently gay king penguins Stan and Ollie were moved from the Berlin Zoo to Hamburg's Hagenbeck Zoo to continue their romance. The couple joined same-sex Humboldt penguin mates Juan and Carlos at the zoo.

Group of chicks of Emperor penguins, Snow Hill Island, Weddell Sea, Antarctica. 18 adorable penguin pictures
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