Soap Opera at the Zoo: A Female Comes Between Toronto’s ‘Gay’ Penguins

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Mark Blinch / Reuters

African penguins Pedro and Buddy interact with each other at the Toronto Zoo

They’re known around the world as the gay penguin couple, but it seems like Buddy and Pedro’s relationship was really more of a bromance. After all, Buddy’s found a new girlfriend.

The penguin duo at the Toronto Zoo became famous after news spread that they had a special bond, often spending time together and pairing off and nesting together every night. Although the birds aren’t technically considered “gay,” as the term tends not to apply to the animal kingdom, same-sex relationships between penguins have been noted in the past and are often chalked up to loneliness. Whatever the reason for the bond, there was a public outcry when zookeepers split Buddy and Pedro up with the intent of mating them with female birds. As African penguins are endangered, mating is a vital part of the species’ survival but hundreds of people petitioned to keep the love birds together.

Which, it turns out, seems to have been for naught. The Associated Press is reporting that Buddy has already found a female mating partner and Pedro has made several attempts at courting (though, so far, he’s struck out repeatedly). Zoo curator Tom Mason told reporters that the pair’s bond had been a social companionship not a sexual attraction, which explains their new interests.

So it seems like this is the end of the bromance of Buddy and Pedro. It’s a little sad, but certainly not the first time a chick came between two friends.

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