Awww! Male Penguin Couple 'Sphengic' Welcome Cute Baby Chick

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday October 29, 2018

Sphen and Magic, the same-sex Gentoo penguin couple who were given an egg to foster at Sydney Aquarium's Sea Life attraction, have welcomed a new addition to their family: Their egg has hatched, bringing them a tiny bundle of joy, the Aquarium announced.

"Born on Friday 19th October at 5:45 pm weighing just 91 grams, the unnamed chick has also waddled into the history books as the attraction's first sub-Antarctic penguin chick since the colony first joined the Darling Harbor family in November 2016," a release posted at the aquarium's website detailed. "The baby chick will act as an ambassador for its generation at Sea Life Sydney," the release added.

As reported previously at EDGE, aquarium staff noticed that Sphen and Magic seemed to have bonded. When mating season arrived and the couple built a nest of pebbles, just as other couples were doing, staffers gave them a "dummy egg" to care for, and the couple - collectively known as Sphengic - took right to it. Impressed, the staff provided them with a real egg, which came from a mixed-gender penguin couple that had found themselves with two eggs to care for.

Text at the aquarium's website noted, "As Gentoo penguins usually only have enough resources to successfully raise one of their two eggs, the 'back-up' chick often dies. Fostering the biological couple's egg to Sphen and Magic was the best outcome for all penguin couples and the future of their eggs."

With the chick now having hatched, "the loving foster parents are co-parenting exceptionally well to raise their young," the aquarium reports.

Sea Life's Penguin Department Supervisor, Tish Hannan, said, "Baby Sphengic has already stolen our hearts! We love watching the proud parents doting and taking turns caring for their baby chick."

Added Hannan, "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 new chick is now ten days old and, evidently, being well fed by his tow dads, has grown substantially, weighing in 481 grams according to an Oct. 29 tweet from the aquarium.

Many same-sex penguin couples have come to the world's attention in recent years, including a gay penguin couple at Odense Zoo in Denmark that appropriated another pair's chick when both parents left it unattended.

Perhaps the most celebrated story of two penguin dads raising a chick is that of Roy and Silo, a male penguin couple at the New York's Central Park Zoo whose nurturing of a chick named Tango inspired the children's book "And Tango Makes Three."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.