Gay giraffes and penguins play a part in Munich Pride Parade

Zoo tours give insights into homosexuality among animals
Organisers of this year’s Gay Pride week in Munich have a group of rather wild partners — penguins, giraffes and lions at the city zoo — where tours are being run about same-sex love in the animal kingdom. The Munich Zoo has joined Pride week with a look into the intimate lives of animals, seeking to boost tolerance among humans. “It is important for us to talk about” homosexuality in the animal kingdom and show that same-sex love is natural, said Munich zoo spokesman Dennis Spaeth, adding that Germany is seeing an increasing number of attacks on LGBTQI rights. At least 91 attacks on non-heterosexuals were recorded by the police last year. The first stop on the Pride tour is the giraffes. “Giraffes are bisexual. In some groups, 90% of the acts observed are in fact homosexual in nature,” explained biologist Guenter Strauss.

Lifetime partners

There is also a male couple of Humboldt penguins squatting away from other, mixed pairs. “Penguins conduct homosexual relationships that can last a whole lifetime, something very rare in the animal kingdom,” said Mr. Strauss. Same-sex love among animals was a taboo for scientists for a long time, says Mr. Strauss. “On one expedition to the South Pole at the start of the 20th century, a doctor saw males (penguins) copulating — but he left out the pages dealing with the behaviour when he published the results of his research,” he said. The pages were only rediscovered “eight or nine years ago” in a library in Britain, the biologist added.

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