Article Title:It's all natural for kokako
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com News Staff
Published on:21st December 2003 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:2180
Text:Native New Zealand birds can be gay too, a Landcare Research scientist said this week. The North Island kokako, an endangered species of bird whose numbers have inflated significantly again over the last four years, often includes gay male couples among their number. "It's the only bird we know of with male/male pairs, they even build nests," said Landcare Research scientist John Innes in yesterday's NZ Herald. Worldwide, the phenomenon is not uncommon. In 1999, CNN reported a gay vulture couple at an Israeli zoo that were being used as surrogate parents. "We're very proud of them. We think they've done a marvelous job," said bird keeper Sharon Sterling at the time. "They've behaved extremely well, the best parents we've ever seen." In 2002, the Columbia University news service told the story of Wendell and Cass, a gay penguin couple who had been together for eight years. "There are a lot of animals that have same-sex relations, it's just that people don't know about it," said keeper Stephanie Mitchell. "I mean, Joe Schmoe on the street is not someone who's read all sorts of biology books." Stories like these place large question marks over the argument that homosexuality is “unnatural”. But what about those who think it is a choice? In 1997, keepers at the Central Park Zoo in New York tried to separate four gay penguin couples in an effort to increase breeding. The experiment failed, and all but one of the penguins stayed gay. The total penguin population at the zoo was 53 at the time. After the experiment, Silo and Roy found happiness together. The keepers at Central Park Zoo, like their Israeli counterparts, were impressed also with their parenting skills – they were given an egg to foster. "They got all excited when we gave them the egg," said Rob Gramzay, senior keeper for polar birds at the zoo. "And they did a really great job of taking care of the chick and feeding it." With all those myths shattered, we're proud to add one more – keeper Mitchell said rumours that gay penguins keep the neatest nests are unfounded. "These are penguins," she said. "They poop in their nest. Nobody's got a clean nest."    
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