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Lesbian Penguin Couple Calls Israeli Zoo Home

Ramat Gan Zoo staff had always just thought one was a small male

by
Stephanie Butnick
December 18, 2013
Suki and Chupchikoni of the Ramat Gan Zoological Center.(Tibor Jager/Haaretz)

Suki and Chupchikoni of the Ramat Gan Zoological Center.(Tibor Jager/Haaretz)

In your animal news of the day (we are an Internet publication, after all), Haaretz reports that two young penguins at the Ramat Gan Zoological Center, who zookeepers assumed were male and female (apparently it’s an easy mistake to make), are in fact both females.

Penguins, as anyone who’s seen Never Been Kissed knows, mate young and mate for life. So when Suki and Chupchikoni, two Jackass penguins (settle down everyone), paired off together, it was for the long haul. And it wasn’t until an Israeli veterinary student researching avian malaria (which especially afflicts penguins) analyzed blood samples from the zoo’s flock that they learned that Chupchikoni wasn’t just a petite male penguin, he was in fact a female.

And the countdown to animal pinkwashing claims starts in 3, 2, 1…

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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