A Pride Month post by a US zoo has ruffled feathers online after they announced a gay flamingo couple named Freddie Mercury and Lance Bass had split up.
Denver Zoo in Colorado has a 75-strong flock of both Chilean and American flamingos. Among them are Chilean flamingo Lance Bass and American flamingo Freddie Mercury.
The two males were a couple for several years, the zoo explained. In 2019, the zoo first explained the pair acted as surrogate parents if a breeding pair in the flock were unable to raise their chick.
But last week, Denver Zoo dropped the news in a Pride Month Facebook post celebrating the zoo’s “diverse animal kingdom families”.
“Flamingos are extremely social by nature and flocks consist of collections of partnerships,” they wrote.
“This includes not only male-female breeding pairs, but also strong bonds between same-sex pairs.
“While our famed, same-sex couple Chilean flamingo Lance Bass and American flamingo Freddie Mercury are no longer a pair, they were paired up for several years.
“Our flock is 75 birds strong, which allows our birds to flamingle with a variety of individuals and personalities, giving them many options on who to form associations with.”
Flamingo Freddie Mercury left partner Lance Bass for a female
But some of Denver Zoo’s Facebook followers were left reeling by the casually-dropped bombshell and demanded more information. The zoo later obliged in a follow-up Facebook post.
“Please rest assured that both Freddie and Lance are in good health. They weren’t separated and their break up was amicable,” they wrote.
“Mating for life isn’t necessarily true for all birds. Our keepers have noticed that some birds in long-term relationships sometimes decide to move on and pair up with other birds.
“Freddie re-paired with Iommi, one of our fourteen-year-old female American flamingos.
“Iommi has been around Freddie for nearly her entire life without any indication of a bond before. So keepers aren’t exactly sure why these two decided to pair up.
“As for Lance, keepers haven’t noticed him in a new concrete bond with anyone else at the moment.
“Our flock allows our birds to choose who they decide to form associations with and we’re happy to celebrate their pairings this month and every month. Happy Pride!”
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