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Gay Vultures discriminated against in the Father Land


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German Zoo Forces Gay Vultures to Mate With Lauren Frayer



AOL News (Nov. 26) -- German zookeepers are forcing two male vultures who prefer nesting together to mate with females, sparking outrage from gay rights activists who accuse the zoo of discriminating against birds of a different feather.


The trouble began back in March, when Guido and Detlef, two Griffon vultures, decided to move in together. The lovebirds began crafting a two-man nest out of stray twigs in a communal birdcage at their zoo in the town of Munster, in northwest Germany.


Both birds are predatory males, but seemed to enjoy one another's company more than that of any female. They spent their days grooming one another with their beaks and fortifying their nest -- though other vultures occasionally stole their building materials, as if to spite them.


"They always sat so closely together. They defended their nest from the other vultures," the zoo's curator, Dirk Wewers, told The Daily Telegraph of Australia.


But Wewers explains their preference for one another as second-best. "A suitable female was missing and in such a case vultures look for companionship from the next best thing, even if it is a male," the zookeeper said. "Detlef looked for a bird of the opposite sex but settled with Guido."


Poor Guido.


Griffon vultures aren't classified as endangered, but the purpose of their captivity in zoos is to allow them to reproduce in safe environments, to eventually grow their species' numbers and release them back into the wild. Zookeepers decided that Guido and Detlef's living arrangements weren't helping that goal.


So last week, Guido was snatched from his partner and shipped 400 miles east to a zoo in the Czech Republic, where a new bride awaited him. In his place is a Czech temptress whom zookeepers hope can seduce Detlef.


"Detlef is reorienting himself now," Wewers told the Telegraph. But he acknowledged that so far, Detlef and the Czech bird haven't touched one another.


Gay rights activists held a small demonstration in front of the zoo, waving a rainbow flag and decrying the zookeepers for standing in the way of love.


"This is like in the dark middle ages, forcibly making a creature sexually re-orient itself by tearing its partner from its side," The German Herald quoted one protester as saying. Others said they worried that what's happened to the birds could one day happen to humans as well.


Guido and Detlef aren't the first gay couple from the animal kingdom to make headlines.


Two gay male penguins, Harry and Pepper, started living together at the San Francisco Zoo in 2003, and five years later adopted, incubated and hatched an egg abandoned by a female penguin, Time magazine reported. But their romance didn't last. Last year, Harry left Pepper for a recently widowed female, Linda.

Filed under: World, Science, Gay Rights

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