• Thelma and Louise with their baby foster chick. (Kelly Tarlton's seal Life Aquarium / Facebook. )Source: Kelly Tarlton's seal Life Aquarium / Facebook.
The penguins, Thelma and Louise, are fostering the chick after the birth mother was left by her partner and was struggling to raise it.
By
Chloe Sargeant

27 Apr 2017 - 3:31 PM  UPDATED 27 Apr 2017 - 3:31 PM

Zookeepers at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium in New Zealand have revealed that a lesbian penguin couple are happily raising a foster chick together. 

The penguins, adorably named Thelma and Louise, are 24 years of age, which is very old to be parents - king penguins have a life expectancy of 15-20 years. 

The chick's birth mother was struggling to raise it after her partner left her, so zookeepers decided to give the egg to Thelma and Louise. 

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"Usually king penguins will bond with a mate. This can be male-male, female-female or male-female," said team leader Ebony Dwipayana. 

“[Thelma and Louise] actually love having a chick to take care of. Obviously they’re not able to have their own, so the fact that they can still raise a healthy chick is amazing for them, and is such a beautiful experience to share.”

Dwipayana says that king penguins incubate their eggs with their feet for around 55 days, and swap every three or so days with their partner. So, taking care of the egg was very taxing on the chick's birth mother, as she was all by herself: "If you think of all of that stress - you need to eat, bathe and even exercise - Shaq was not able to do it by herself as a single mum."

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While this may seem like a plotline from Parks and Recreation (which it literally was), this very real tale of a happy couple finding a bub to call their very own was reported by the New Zealand Herald

Lead image via Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium on Facebook