One half of Canada’s best known gay couples, a pair of African penguins, has found a new mate, of the opposite sex.

Toronto’s zoo split up a pair of male penguins, Buddy and Pedro, in order to coax them into breeding.

Pedro, aged 10 and Buddy, aged 20, had never previously mated with a female. The zoo believed that separating them would lead them into breeding with a female penguin.

Last month, Tom Mason, the zoo’s Curator of Invertebrates and Birds told PinkNews.co.uk the move was necessary, but only temporary.

He said: “The population is good but we have to be careful to ensure that all individuals or as many as possible have genetic representation within the
community. This will maximize the chances of survival of the population.”

He said males and females will be able to mix freely, but if Buddy and Pedro show no interest in mating with a female, they will need to be separated for a while.

Mr Mason said: “There will be a limited time of separation but it will not be permanent. No matter what happens all the penguins will be re-united by spring. If Pedro and Buddy wish to get back together, they will be welcome to do so.”

Separated from Pedro, Buddy has mated with a female. The zoo said that Pedro had not successfully breed with a female, but it “wasn’t for lack of trying.”

Until their forced separation, the pair of African penguins had lived in a nest that they made together since arriving at the zoo.