However, hope is not dead for the male penguins.
An egg being hatched by two gay penguins, Skipper and Ping, at Berlin Zoo has failed to properly hatch. The egg opened earlier this week, but sadly it had not been fertilised meaning that the two penguins missed out on the chance to become parents.
The egg had been abandoned by a female penguin at the zoo, prompting zookeepers to hand the egg to the male penguins.
Confirming the news on Twitter, the zoo wrote: “Our same-sex king penguin couple has finished brooding his egg.
“On September 2nd the egg burst open and was unfortunately not fertilised. Surely they will get the chance to become parents again in the future.”
And speaking to Berliner Zeitung, one keeper, Maximilian Jaeger praised the prospective parents. “The two penguin men behave like exemplary parents and warm the egg alternately,” he said.
It wouldn’t have been the first time gay penguins have become fathers in zoos around the world, but if Skipper and Ping had been successful it would have been the first time for Berlin Zoo.
Gay penguins have also observed in the wild, with Jaeger explaining: “Same-sex penguin couples exist in their natural habitat.”
London Zoo is home to its own same-sex penguin parents, Ronnie and Reggie, who even joined in the Pride in London celebrations this year as banners reading, “Some penguins are gay, get over it,” were installed in their beach area.
Last year in September, a gay penguin couple stole a chick from its parents after they thought the parents had abandoned it.
It’s thought that the mother of the chick went off to bathe herself, and although the father was supposed to look after it, he wandered off.
Eventually, the zookeepers had to intervene and take the chick away from the gay couple, despite them fighting to keep the chick. However, despite the loss of this child, zookeepers did give the gay penguin couple an unhatched egg that had been abandoned, so they will get to be parents after all.