Gay penguins reject shy females|davinian||02/09/06 at 08:29:34|davinian|smiley|0||[b]Gay zoo penguins reject shy females[/b]

[b]Six gay penguins at a German zoo in the northern port city of Bremerhaven are still refusing to mate with females of the species flown in from Sweden last year.[/b]

Zoo director Heike Kueck says the problem was that the female humboldt penguins have proven too shy in their advances.

"The Swedes will not make the first move," he said.

The females were flown in last year in a bid to bring the males to mate and help save the humboldt species from extinction.

Ms Kueck said last year she was optimistic the initiative would be successful because zoo keepers had noticed that at one point a female penguin had managed to cause a couple of males to "separate".

The zoo has 10 male penguins of which six have shown strong signs of preferring male company and formed couples among themselves.

The initiative to "turn" the penguins and make them mate had prompted a furious response from gay rights groups.

In a statement posted on its website, the zoo has sought to defend itself from fresh criticism.

"We will be delighted if the penguins form even one heterosexual couple and manage to produce first an egg and then a little one," the zoo said.

"But of course we accept the male couples that have formed and we are not trying to enforce heterosexuality, as we were accused of doing last year."

Story, [url=]ABC News Online[/url].||