Meet our favourite LGBT animals: From Benjy the Bull to gay penguins
Animals are amazing. Anyone who disagrees with that statement is almost certainly a sociopath. But what’s better than animals? LGBT animals, that’s what – fighting the fight good alongside their queer human counterparts.
Dozens of studies have found that thousands of species of animals entertain same-sex sexual activity, with scientists discovering over 450 species of animals who display gay behaviour.
Same-sex activity is used in the animal kingdom for many reasons, ranging from pleasure-seeking to conflict solving. Many species form bonds for life with their same-sex partner.
We’ve all already enjoyed the two gay penguins in a Chinese zoo who were seen stealing eggs from straight couples – and trying to hide their antics by replacing the eggs with stones – but here some more of our top dogs…
Buddy and Pedro the gay penguins
African penguins Buddy and Pedro, one of many gay penguin couples you’ll see on this list, had bonded before they arrived at a zoo in Vancouver, but for the sake of their species were separated briefly in order to pair with female penguins.
The African penguin is endangered with fewer than a quarter of a million individuals left, and the zoo said that it needed the two males to produce offspring in order to increase animal numbers.
Tom Mason, the zoo’s Curator of Invertebrates and Birds told PinkNews the move was necessary, but only temporary.
“If Pedro and Buddy wish to get back together, they will be welcome to do so.”
Inca and Rayas – some more gay penguins
Two gay Gentoo Penguins called Inca and Rayas were given their own egg to rear at Madrid’s Faunia Park after yearning to be parents for six years.
The pair, who have been inseparable since they met, built a nest every year in the hope of nurturing a young penguin, but to no avail. Thanks to zookeepers, however, an egg was placed in their nest.
Yolanda Martin, who takes care of the pair, said: “We wanted them to have something to stay together for — so we got an egg. Otherwise they might have become depressed.”
Gay vultures living in Amsterdam
Two gay male vultures in a long-term relationship successfully hatched an egg together earlier this year.
The birds, who live at a zoo in Amsterdam called the Natura Artis Magistra, adopted the egg after it was abandoned by its former parents.
After finding the egg on the floor of the vulture enclosure, zookeepers chose to place the unborn bird in the care of the two griffon vultures.
The vultures, who have been together for years, took turns sitting on the egg until it hatched. They went on to feed the hatchling by regurgitating their food into its mouth.
The zoo has said it is not unusual for its animals – especially the birds – to form same-sex couples, but that this is the first time it has played host to such a pair hatching an egg.
Szenja the lesbian polar bear
Tragically, a polar bear called Szenja died this year, just weeks after her same-sex partner of 20 years was transferred to a different zoo.
The bear, who was left alone at SeaWorld San Diego after her companion Snowflake was moved to Pittsburgh Zoo, died of a broken heart, animals rights charity Peta claimed.
The bears had lived together for almost all 21 years of Szenja’s life.
A gay bull named Benjy
Benjy from County Mayo was famously saved from slaughter after his owner thought he was gay.
The anonymous farmer in bought Benjy – an expensive pedigree Charolais bull – with the intention of breeding cattle.
However, he was left disappointed when the bull refused to mate – and showed more interest in other bulls than cows.
Fortunately, late Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon stumped up the money to buy Benjy, and he was moved to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich, England.
Gay bears enjoying oral sex in Croatia
Yep, back in 2014, two male bears were observed regularly having oral sex at a wildlife sanctuary in Croatia.
According to a report in journal Zoo Biology, researchers from the Polish Academy of Sciences Department of Wildlife Conservation recorded “the first observations of long‐term, recurrent fellatio in captive brown bears kept in proper conditions”.
According to report, the researchers recorded 28 instances of oral sex between the two male bears across 116 hours of observations.
Good on you, boys.
More gay penguins called Dotty and Zee
Gay penguins are becoming something of a theme here – and another couple recently celebrated their 10th year of partnership.
Dotty and Zee are two Humboldt penguins that reside at Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany.
The pair have built a nest every year, a clear indication that they wanted to start a family.
2009 was their lucky year as they were gifted an egg that was rejected by its mother.
The penguins took on the shared responsibility of incubating the egg and acted like good fathers by sharing the feeding work and doing everything necessary for the baby.
Gay lions caught in an act of ‘pride’
Two male lions were caught on film in an amazing display of mating by a photographer Nicole Cambré in the Kwando Concession in Botswana.
Lionesses nearby were also apparently shunned by the two males.
“Only one lioness was seen in the centre of the concession where the male lions were and the lions showed no interest in the lioness leading to the assumption that she may have been pregnant,” Cambré said.
“It is the first time I have seen homosexual behaviour in lions, but when reading about it upon my return, it is not that uncommon. With the light just around sunset, it gave some spectacular images.”
Finally, some lesbian penguins called Thelma and Louise
In April, a zoo in New Zealand revealed that its lesbian penguin couple were raising a chick together.
The 24-year-old penguins, named Thelma and Louise, fostered the chick after its birth mother was left by her partner, leaving her struggling to raise the chick.
Thelma and Louise are very old to be parents, with the species having an average life expectancy of 15-20 years.
Nevertheless, zookeeper Ebony Dwipayana said: “They absolutely love having a chick to take care of.”
Gay flamingos adopt too
Back in 2014, a pair of gay flamingos at Edinburgh zoo adopted a baby chick of their own, after it was rejected by its straight parents.
The rare Chilean Flamingo was born to a straight couple as part of the zoo’s breeding programme, but was left helpless after it fell out of its nest before even hatching.
Zookeeper Nick Dowling said: “When the first egg arrived the parenting couple got really excited and accidentally knocked it off the nest – their natural instinct was then to abandon the egg.
“We don’t usually intervene with our flamingo flock but as this was our first egg since 2010, we carefully picked it up and placed it back on the nest.
“Luckily, one of our same-sex male couples went straight onto the nest, fostered the egg and raised it as their own.”
Kami and Kamutori the gay hyenas
Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo, Japan, obtained rare spotted hyenas Kami and Kamutori from a South Korean zoo in 2010, as a ‘male and female pair’ for breeding.
However, after an extensive four-year breeding programme failed to produce any offspring, the zoo examined the hyenas under anaesthesia to diagnose the problem – and discovered they were both male.
Tale as old as time.
Yep, even more gay penguins called Jumbs and Kermit
This is the last pair of LGBT penguins on our list, and we’re celebrating Jumbs and Kermit because not only were they raising a baby together in a Kent zoo, they were doing a much better job than their straight counterparts.
The two male Humboldt penguins who were living in Wingham Wildlife Park in 2014 were given the egg to look after when its mother was abandoned by her mate.
Zoo owner Tony Binskin told KentOnline: “These two have so far proven to be two of the best penguin parents we have had yet.”
Ninio the gay elephant
Ninio the elephant from Poznan Zoo in Poland is gay. But, more importantly, he managed to anger a member of Poland’s Law and Justice party because of his sexual orientation.
Councillor Michal Grzes told local media that the animal preferred male company and would probably not procreate, wasting huge amounts of the government’s money.
“We didn’t pay 37 million zlotys (£7.6 million) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there,” he said.
Lesbian albatrosses welcomed a chick
A pair of lesbian albatrosses in New Zealand welcomed their first chick back in 2010.
The couple, who lived at Royal Albatross Colony on South Island, are not unique, but it is particularly unusual for lesbian albatrosses to successfully incubate an egg.
Royal albatrosses are an endangered species and the new chick was one of just 17 new additions to the colony that year. The colony has had three lesbian couples in the last 70 years.