A pair of "gay" Gentoo penguins who have apparently yearned for parenthood for six years, are to become fathers at last after an egg was donated to their empty nest.
Inca and Rayas met at Madrid’s Faunia Park six years ago and have been inseparable ever since.
But their love story has been laced with sorrow. For every year the industrious pair have built a nest, in the apparent hope of hearing the pitter-patter of tiny penguin feet.
However, the stork is finally on his way to the happy couple, as an egg has been donated to them, The Times reported.
“We wanted them to have something to stay together for — so we got an egg. Otherwise they might have become depressed,” said Yolanda Martin, their keeper.
Inca has reportedly taken a maternal role, perching on the egg throughout the day, while Rayas stands guard like any other proud father-to-be.
“This shows that parents of the same sex can care as well for their child and parenting of this kind can exist within sexual diversity,” Boti García, president of the Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transexuals and Bisexuals told the paper.
Yet while Ms Martin conceded it was "lovely" to be involved in the tale, she has apparently taken exception to the media labelling the pair "gay", and insists they are merely "good friends".
Congrats are pouring in via Twitter, although it's not the first time a pair of "gay" birds have become parents.
Last year a male penguin couple in China were given a baby chick to care for, in an effort to help a struggling penguin mother who had recently hatched twins.
The pair, who are resident at Harbin Polar Land in northern China were even "married" in a ceremony, with Adam donning a tie and Steve resplendent in a red blouse.
Previous "gay" penguin couples to have made the headlines include Roy and Silo, a couple at New York’s Central Park Zoo, who were eventually given a rejected egg after trying to hatch a rock.
Buddy and Pedro, a Canadian male penguin pair at Toronto Zoo, were somewhat controversially separated for the purposes of mating. The idea had been to reunite the duo afterwards, but it seems some "breeding activity" between Buddy and a female has been observed, said The Star.
View a slideshow of "gay" animal couples below
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