Gay Penguins, and Their Hope for a Baby, Have Enchanted Berlin

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Omer Messinger/EPA, via Shutterstock BERLIN — Skip and Ping moved to the German capital in April and soon decided to start a family. They scrounged around for objects like a wet rock and a slimy fish they could nurture in the hopes that it would one day hatch into a child, according to zookeepers. But needless to say, neither the rock nor the fish ever hatched for Skip and Ping, who are both male king penguins at Zoo Berlin, said Maximilian Jäger, a spokesman. The zoo knew they were a couple when they arrived from Hamburg this year, and it became clear within weeks that they wanted to start a family, he said. “It is very common that two penguins of the same sex come together. I don’t think it is the majority of penguins, but it is not rare either,” Mr. Jäger said on Tuesday. “We are sure they would be good parents because they were so nice to their stone.” So the zookeepers decided to give Skip — short for Skipper — and Ping a shot at fatherhood after a 22-year-old female, called The Orange because of the color of her wings, laid an egg in July. […]

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