Members of Germany’s gay community were outraged Tuesday after a pair of homosexual vultures were forcibly parted and made to mate with females.
The pair, Guido and Detlef, have become the poster boys for protests against intolerance, even though they are both predatory males.
In a world of cholera outbreaks, terrorism threats, imploding banks and decreasing fortunes and species, certain German gay rights campaigners have found the time to express solidarity and sympathy for the birds’ plight.
The drama began in March when Guido and Detlef set up home together at the Allwetterzoo, in the British Army garrison town of Munster, northwest Germany.
The griffon vultures, Gyps fulvus, showed no interest in female company. They were happy in their own world, grooming one another with tender sweeps of their savage beaks between rearranging the sticks that made up their nest, although the other vultures kept stealing materials as if to spite their arrangement.
Dirk Wewers, the zoo’s curator, said: “They always sat so closely together. They defended their nest from the other vultures. 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. Detlef looked for a bird of the opposite sex but settled with Guido.”
Guido was removed last week, however, to be replaced by a flighty female from the Czech Republic who, it is hoped, will tickle Detlef’s fancy and eventually produce little vultures.
“Detlef is reorienting himself now,” said Dr Wewers, who dismissed criticism from gay groups at the decision to break up a happy home.
So far, Detlef and the unnamed Czech bird have yet to do the wild thing. Guido, transferred 400 miles (650km) east to a zoo in Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, is also reportedly not too enamored with the heterosexual lifestyle that is being forced upon him.
Will it be too late to teach an old vulture new tricks? Both Detlef and Guido are 14 and it is uncertain that the libido of either can live up to the expectations of keepers.
There has been one protest near the zoo gates by a small group of homosexuals standing beneath a rainbow flag, while the German blogosphere is buzzing. “This is like in the Dark Middle Ages, forcibly making a creature sexually reorient itself by tearing its partner from its side,” wrote one campaigner.
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