Amsterdam zoo celebrates Pride with tour of ‘homosexuality in the animal kingdom’

Two lions are pictured at the zoo of Hellabrunn in Munich, southern Germany, on March 23, 2017 (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty)

A zoo in the Netherlands has found an education and entertaining way to celebrate the Amsterdam Gay Pride event this year.

The Artis zoo is advertising a special 1-hour guided tour of its premises, focused on “homosexuality in the animal kingdom,” running on the Pride weekends of July 28-29 and August 4-5—the world-famous canal Pride parade is scheduled for August 4.

During the tour, visitors can observe homosexual behaviour in species such as the Japanese macaques, flamingos, penguins, and even griffon vultures who have hatched an egg together, according to a Vice reporter who was given a private guided tour on Sunday.

A picture taken 11 February 2005 shows male penguin pair cuddling at the Bremerhaven zoo, where three male homosexual penguin pairs live in couple (David Hecker/AFP/Getty)

The initiative received positive responses on social media, but Artis has not responded to a request for comment from PinkNews about the number of visitors who paid up to €21 (£18.50) for the tour last weekend.

A lecture on the topic of sexual diversity in the animal kingdom, whose event page on the website prominently features a picture of a lioness mounting a fellow lioness, is also due to be held on August 2 at the ticket price of €15 (£13).

“Nature is much more diverse in sexuality and sex than most people think. This lecture during Pride Amsterdam is about creatures that are neither male or female, about animals that change sex, animals whose sex does not depend on their genetic material, and about homosexual behaviour in the animal kingdom,” the zoo’s resident biologist Charlotte Vermeulen explained in a press release.

“Since homosexual animals do not reproduce, this behaviour may seem like an evolutionary paradox. But there are already 1,500 species of birds and mammals in which homosexual behaviour has been observed, both between males and females. Homosexual and lesbian behaviour among animals is no error. In many animal species it is part of their normal, species-specific behaviour in nature,” she added.

Gorillas have long taken part in homosexual sex (Flickr)

Instances of homosexual behaviour in animals have indeed been observed numerous times by both scientists and zoo visitors, often making headlines worldwide, such as the gay lion orgy reported in the West Midlands Safari Park in February or the gay gorilla sex caught on camera at the Rotterdam Zoo in April.

In 2016, news that a couple of gay penguins had been together for 10 years, building a new nest every year and even fathering an egg at one point, showed how long-lasting and loving some of these unions can be—unlike instances of homosexual sex among male beetles which, according to a recent study, is just a failure on some of these animals to distinguish between male or female partners.