While reporting what likely felt commonplace to their employees, the Denver Zoo broke some news last week on Facebook that ruffled some feathers in the bird-loving community.
On Friday, the Denver Zoo shared that the much-beloved same-sex flamingo pairing, Lance Bass and Freddie Mercury, had appeared to have broken up. The couple had been together at the zoo for years and had even been surrogate parents for multiple young flamingos-in-need.
In their Facebook post, the employees found this pairing shift to be normal among flamingos.
"Happy Pride! We’re celebrating some of the diverse animal kingdom families who call the Zoo home, and today we’re featuring our fabulous flockstars, our Chilean and American flamingos!"
"Flamingos are extremely social by nature and flocks consist of collections of partnerships. This includes not only male-female breeding pairs, but also strong bonds between same-sex pairs."
"While our famed, same-sex couple Chilean flamingo Lance Bass and American flamingo Freddie Mercury are no longer a pair, they were paired up for several years and acted as surrogate parents if a breeding pair was unable to raise their chick."
"Our flock is 75 birds strong, which allows our birds to flamingle with a variety of individuals and personalities, giving them many options on who to form associations with."
Though Freddie and Lance's ended relationship was meant to be an example of how flamingos socialize with their peers, fellow Facebook users were not ready to let the news slide.
Quite frankly, they were shook at the news and needed to know more.
Surprised at the response from their followers, the Denver Zoo shared a second post to explain the shifting relationship dynamics between Freddie and Lance.
It seemed Freddie had recently been accepted by a female flamingo, Iommi, while Lance remains without a partner at the moment but is otherwise in good health and continues socializing with the flock.
The Zoo wrote, alongside a beautiful image of Lance and Iommi together:
"It seems like our flamingo post yesterday may have ruffled some feathers and we want to sincerely apologize... for leaving everyone in the dark so long as to why our same-sex flamingo pair Freddie Mercury and Lance Bass split up!"
"Please rest assured that both Freddie and Lance are in good health, weren’t separated, and their breakup was amicable."
"Mating for life isn’t necessarily true for all birds, and our keepers have noticed that some birds in long-term relationships sometimes decide to move on and pair up with other birds."
"Freddie repaired with Iommi, one of our fourteen-year-old female American flamingos. Iommi has been around Freddie for nearly her entire life without any indication of a bond before, so keepers aren’t exactly sure why these two decided to pair up."
"As for Lance, keepers haven’t noticed him in a new concrete bond with anyone else at the moment."
The Zoo also emphasized again that this shift was perfectly natural among flamingos.
"As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, flamingos are incredibly social animals that form unique and intricate bonds."
"Some birds are in male-female breeding pairs. Some birds are in same-sex bonded pairs. Some birds are mated pairs their whole lives, some will have multiple partners in their lifetime, and others won’t have a mate at all."
"Our flock allows our birds to choose who they decide to form associations with and we’re happy to celebrate their pairings this month and every month. Happy Pride!"
While the internet was at first sad to hear of Lance and Freddie parting ways, they were relieved to know that the two birds, most importantly, were in good health and still happy.
They also rooted for Lance and his quest to find new love among the flock.