Proud penguin papas Sphen and Magic have celebrated their third anniversary together at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
The penguin power couple first got together in late 2018, shortly after Australia passed marriage equality legislation. Their timely pairing and the fact that they successfully hatched an egg together led to viral fame. The baby chick was named Lara by keepers, but the Internet decided on a more appropriate portmanteau: Sphengic. The following year, they hatched a second chick, Clancy.
Three years on, the couple is still going strong. This is no small feat: Gentoo penguins often switch up partners each breeding season. Despite this, Sphen and Magic have repeatedly found their way back into each other’s flippers year after year. And the other penguins have taken notice.
Penguin Keeper at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Kiera Ponting explains, “They set a great example to the rest of the colony and we’ve noticed many of the newer penguin couples setting up their nests close to Sphen and Magic, which we think is them trying to learn from the best!” And as long as that learning doesn’t cross the line into gay penguin culture appropriation, we’ll allow it.
This year, Sphen and Magic are taking advantage of an empty nest to spend quality time together without the stress of raising kids. They might follow the lead of the penguins in SEA LIFE Melbourne and become guncles. But they are also still incubating a dummy egg to show the straights how it’s done. Some penguins are just born for the spotlight.
At this point, the two are well accustomed to being role models. Their first egg was given to them when a straight couple struggled to incubate two eggs at once. It begs the question what kind of lives these poor chicks would have if not for the intervention of gay penguin daddies everywhere.
In honor of their third anniversary, Sphen and Magic had a feast of frozen fish cakes and celebrated the occasion with the rest of the colony.