July 19, 2009

Harry, Pepper, and Linda

A story like this could happen somewhere besides San Francisco, but somehow it seems likely it would have had somewhat less impact.

Harry, Pepper, and Linda - A tale of selfishness and infidelity

For the past six years, visitors to the San Francisco zoo could see a mated gay pair of penguins, frolicking together and occasionally caring for and protecting nests of eggs abandoned by other penguins. These were Harry and Pepper, and they seemed very happy together. To the San Francisco gay community… they were an example that even in the non-human world there were displays of homosexual traits.

But all of that has come to an end. Harry left Pepper to take up with the recently widowed Linda. In a copyrighted story on Friday [apparently available only to subscribers], the Los Angeles Times reported that Harry had indeed moved into Linda’s nest.

The sphere is aquiver with this story, with bits of the LAT piece appearing in rags around the world. As could be expected, the gay blogs are quite active, with one calling Linda a selfish home wrecker, another calls Harry a callous lout, and one commenter saying that he is "heartbroken" about the split, and that he hopes Pepper "finds another male penguin that is ten times hotter than Harry!"

Of course the social conservatives must have something to say about this, and the Christian website OneNewsNow.com takes the split as a sign that "nature prefers heterosexual relationships." I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen more.

Harrison Edell, a curator of birds at the San Francisco zoo, is a bit pragmatic in his explanation of the events. He notes that Linda's recently-deceased partner was somewhat of a leader in the local penguin community, who actually had two nests; one more than your average penguin.

"For penguins, real estate means a lot," Edell told the Los Angeles Times, so "as far as penguins go, she was a pretty attractive prospect." In other words, Harry was in it for the money and just took advantage of an opportunity. I’m sure they will be quite happy together.

Which is well and fine, but I do feel sorry for Pepper, who is now relegated to the ranks of the lonely unattached. For a social animal like the penguin… that has got to be difficult.



Old NFO said...

Yep, it will be interesting to see how THIS plays out... :-)

Anonymous said...

So I guess it's true for penguins too: Life's a bitch, and then you die.