Grape, a male Humboldt penguin, who currently resides at the Tobu Zoo in Miyashiro, Japan has fallen in love with a cardboard cut-out .
The 20-year-old penguin began the unlikely romance after being ‘dumped’ by Midori, a female penguin with whom he was coupled with for nearly ten years. Midori left grape for a younger male penguin.
Zoo staff was concerned for Grape, as the end of his relationship with Midori left him visibly morose. He began spending less time with other penguins, and more time wandering alone.
It wasn’t long before zookeepers began noticing that Grape was spending more and more time staring at the cut-out.
A representative of Tobu Zoo told BuzzFeed News that;
‘Grape has definitely started going to that spot since we installed [the cutout]’.
They added: ‘He might have mistaken it for staff, but it’s certain that he goes there because he’s attracted to something.’
Grape’s true feelings were all but confirmed when he was observed standing before the cut-out with his wings outstretched and his beak pointed up; this stance is a courtship ritual in the penguin world, and an indicator that Grape could be ready to take his relationship to the next level.