Sydney’s gay penguin couple Sphen and Magic have welcomed their first foster baby, their aquarium has announced.
Two weeks ago, gentoo penguin duo Sphen and Magic went viral when staff at Sydney’s Sea Life Aquarium announced they were an item and had become inseparable ahead of breeding season.
After the couple practiced incubating with a dummy egg, aquarium staff gave a foster egg from another who had two.
And today the aquarium announced last Friday the couple’s as-yet-unnamed chick was born, weighing in at an cute 91 grams.
“Baby Sphengic has already stolen our hearts! We love watching the proud parents doting and taking turns caring for their baby chick,” Penguin Department Supervisor Tish Hannan said.
“With that said, the first 20 days of a penguin chick’s life are the most vulnerable so it is extra important the chick is very happy, healthy and well fed by his parents.
“We can’t wait for the world to fall in love with Baby Sphengic like they did with our amazing same-sex couple, Sphen and Magic!”
The aquarium staff said on Friday the incubation period for the gentoo penguins lasts roughly 36 days, with the tiny Gentoo penguin taking up to three days to crack free of its egg.
The chick will now stay close to its two dads for five or six weeks, before shedding its baby fluff, growing feathers and getting ready for swimming lessons.
The aquarium said gentoo penguins usually only have enough resources to successfully raise one of their two eggs.
The biological couple’s egg to Sphen and Magic will likely have saved the chick’s life.
The chick is the first sub-Antarctic penguin to be born at the aquarium since the colony arrived in November 2016.
Sub-Antarctic penguins face threats in the wild, including loss of habitat and breeding nests due to climate change.
The plastic pollution consumption which can often be passed on to their young via the penguin’s feeding technique.
(Photos by Sydney Sea Life Aquarium)