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Harry and Pepper

A gay Magellanic penguin couple at the San Francisco Zoo who split up in mid-2009 after being together for over six years.

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My Favorite Couple at the San Francisco Zoo is No More

  • Jul 18, 2009
I've read my fair share of celebrity news on Lunch, but how about some zoo gossip?  Or to put it more specifically, Magellanic penguin gossip?  If you haven't heard already, Harry and Pepper, the well-known gay Magellenic penguin couple who live on Penguin Island at the San Francisco Zoo, have officially called it quits.

This is sad news because these eight-and-a-half pound, one-foot-six ex-lovers had been together for over six years.  They were such a great power couple that zoo keepers even gave them an egg to take care of and become surrogate parents for.  I've always loved trying to spot them at the zoo, and I loved reading stories about them in the news.  Stories about their courtship (Pepper started visiting Harry a lot and eventually moved in), how opposites attract (apparently Pepper's the quiet loner, and Harry's a social butterfly), and how they could never be separated (if one got sick and went to the hospital, the other had to go along, too, or they would go "crazy") warmed my heart.

Sadly, it pretty obvious that Harry has recently left Pepper.  For Linda.  That's right, a female penguin.  It appears that Harry now only has eyes for Linda after Linda's mate, Fig, died.  What burns even more, for Pepper, is that Harry and Linda have shacked up in the burrow right next to his, and that Linda has even hatched two eggs with Harry.  According to zoo keepers, there's animosity between the three penguins, and one time, Pepper even peeked into Harry and Linda's burrow just to see what his ex-mate had been up to. AWWWWWWWWWWWW.

You can learn more about Harry and Pepper in this CNN Report posted on YouTube:

The coupling of Harry and Pepper have brought up many questions, and points, as well as raised awareness, over the years, about homosexuality, and in general, sexuality, and whether this is natural or not, and has somewhat dispelled the stereotype that homosexual males can't be in long term relationships.  Some of my friends have jokingly blamed the break up of Harry and Pepper on Prop 8

Harry and Pepper actually weren't the first, nor the only, same-sex couple at the San Francisco Zoo.  There used to be a lesbian Magellanic penguin couple, as well as same-sex lemur, flamingo, monkey, and elephant couples (if you want to read more about sexuality in nature, Stanford University's Joan Roughgarden wrote a great book about this topic called Evolution's Rainbow).

I haven't felt this way since Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe split up.  I thought Harry and Pepper would be together forever.  Despite all thats happened, I still wish Pepper and Harry the best of luck, and the ability to coexist peacefully on Penguin Island.  Linda (homewrecker!), too.  My heart aches for Pepper, but I'm confident that the little fella will find love again with another penguin dude (or dudette).
Harry and Pepper

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May 05, 2010
I thought Penguins were such committed dads....well, I guess that's not the same as commiting to one mate. Oh well...
May 05, 2010
You can't believe everything you see in big Hollywood movies like Happy Feet ;P
May 05, 2010
(me doing the Happy Feet Dance) ;-P
July 22, 2009
Well, it's not quite the sinking of the Titanic, but it's pulling at my heart strings anyway. And here I thought penguins mated for life...
July 23, 2009
I didn't know anything about penguin relationships till I heard about Harry and Pepper 6+ years ago. I've been fascinated with their story and all the developments since. You're right, it's no Titanic, but it's still heartbreaking!
July 18, 2009
I can't believe this is real! What a story.
July 18, 2009
I've been following Harry and Pepper news for quite a few years now, and this totally took me by surprise. I didn't know that there could be so much penguin drama!
More The Breakup of Harry and Peppe... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
posted in That's Beat
They may be "gay" happy, but they are not homo-sexual. Homo-sexuality is a sex act. Love is not about sex. It is about affection, purity and goodness. Love should be celebrated. Sex should be private.
About the reviewer
devora ()
Ranked #4
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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Harry and Pepper are a gay Magellanic penguin couple at the San Francisco Zoo who split up in mid-2009 after being together for over six years.
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