Harry and Pepper are a pair of adorable male Magellan penguins at the San Francisco Zoo. They have been together for the last 6 years and even adopted an egg together in 2008. All was going well in their relationship until a newly widowed female penguin entered the picture and poor old Pepper was left out in the cold.
Last year, the pair was allowed to incubate and hatch an egg another penguin had laid. “Of all of the parents that year, they were the best,” Brown said. “They took very good care of their chick. He ended up being the largest chick on the island.” One could say that all seemed to be going swimmingly with Harry and Pepper.
Enter the recently widowed Linda, who has long had a reputation of sorts, according to Brown.
Several years ago, she left her longtime companion and moved in with much older Fig just hours after Fig’s partner passed away, Brown said. “That was the fastest we’d ever seen penguins move on,” he said. “To be completely anthropomorphizing, Linda seems conniving. She’s got her plan. I don’t think she was wanting to be a single girl for too long.”
This year, within weeks of Fig passing away in winter, Harry was seen in Fig’s old burrow spending time with Linda, Brown said. Then one day, Harry and Linda approached Pepper’s pen and confronted Pepper. Harry began attacking Pepper violently and the three ultimately had to be separated, Brown said.
(Photo: Cindy Chew / The Examiner)