TORONTO – It appears a female has come between one of Canada’s celebrity couples.
Toronto’s zoo split up a pair of male penguins last month whose affection for each other drew headlines and jokes about “Brokeback Iceberg.”
The zoo said Monday that Buddy and Pedro have been officially separated and Buddy has mated with a female. Pedro has yet to get lucky, but officials say it’s not for a lack of trying.
The birds’ separation was one zoo officials said was necessary because penguins are an endangered species and the two needed to mate with females. The African penguins had shared the nest they built since coming to the zoo about a year ago.
Curator Tom Mason describes their bond as social–not sexual–and says when the birds rejoin the general population, they are likely to stay with their female matches or go their separate ways.
The story of the pair, who came to be known as Toronto’s “gay penguins,” went viral online, leading to cheeky YouTube videos. Late-night TV comics jumped into the icy waters of penguin passion. Jimmy Kimmel riffed on the story during a recent monologue, calling it “Brokeback Iceberg” and claiming the lovebirds were spotted at a Lady Gaga concert.
Buddy, who is 21, had a female mate for 10 years and produced some offspring before his partner died. Pedro, 10, has yet to produce any offspring.