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World's First Gender-Neutral Penguin Raised by Same-Sex Parents at London's Aquarium

Representative Image.
(AFP)

Representative Image. (AFP)

Although it’s usual for new-born penguins to be given a gender-based name at the aquarium, it was decided that it would be best for the chick to grow and develop into a mature adult as neutral which is normal in the wild until they mature.

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In a world first, a four-month old gender-neutral penguin is being raised by a same-sex penguin couple at an aquarium in United Kingdom.

Sea Life London said the yet-to-be named Gentoo chick is "the world's first penguin to not have its gender assigned.”

The two female penguins, Rocky and Marama, were given the egg to relieve the penguin's birth mother of the pressure of raising two chicks, CNN reported.

The chick will be "the world's first penguin to not have its gender assigned," Sea Life London said.

Although it’s usual for new-born penguins to be given a gender-based name at the aquarium, it was decided that it would be best for the chick to grow and develop into a mature adult as neutral which is normal in the wild until they mature.

The penguin has been tagged with its own purple band for health and welfare purposes.

Rocky and Marama raised the chick after demonstrating they were ready to adopt an egg of their own, the aquarium said.

The Gentoo chick has fledged its nest and shed its baby feathers to become another penguin in the colony.

Graham McGrath, general manager at Sea Life London, said, "While the decision may ruffle a few feathers, gender neutrality in humans has only recently become a widespread topic of conversation, however, it is completely natural for penguins to develop gender-less identities as they grow into mature adults.

"What makes us really proud at the aquarium is the success of Sea Life London's Gentoo breeding programme and the amazing job of same sex penguins Rocky and Marama, who took the chick under their wing and raised it as their own."

The Gentoo penguin chick is one of the two to be born at Sea Life London this year as part of the aquarium’s conservation programme.

Gentoo penguins have "near-threatened" status in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as a result of climate change, Sea Life London said.

In August, two male king penguins at a zoo in Berlin adopted an egg while zoos in London, Sydney and New York have also had same-sex penguin couples, according to CNN.

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