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Soap Opera of Grape, the Zoo Penguin in Love with Kemono Friends Character

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

The hit series Kemono Friends has had a predominately positive effect with its recent zoo collaborations. The influx of visitors raised money for area zoos while its own line of original cookies donated proceeds to benefit Kumamoto City Zoo, which was damaged in the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016. These collaborations have included original goods and character cut-outs in the animal exhibits.

All in all the crossover campaigns seem like a success. However, one of those character stand-ins put into motion a star-crossed romance for a resident at the Tobu Zoo in Saitama.

Tobu Zoo is the home to Grape, a 20-year-old male Humboldt penguin. The zoo staff added a cutout of the Humboldt penguin character to the enclosure and Grape was immediately smitten. The other penguins seem to pay the character no mind.

Grape is considered elderly by penguin age standards, but he's not too old for love. However, his fixation has gotten quite serious with staff saying he gazes upon his new paramour for long periods of time. Visitors and the internet began to worry about Grape's health when a new picture that appeared online around Thursday showed that he was separated from his love by a net. Rumors began spreading that Grape was skipping meal time to stare at the character cutout, and that may be why the net was used.

A Tobu Zoo spokesperson set the record straight about the net image. The representative explained that because Grape is old, he goes inside an area fenced off by a net after the zoo closes so that he cannot fall into the pool. The spokesperson added, "I think it's likely that picture was taken by a visitor after closing time."

A new image shared on Sunday shows Grape looking at the cutout in a different pose. This time his wings are raised up and his beak is pointed upward. The pose is similar to a penguin's standard courtship pose known as the "bray call". It looks like Grape is ready to take the next step in his commitment.

The thought on many visitors' minds is what will become of Grape once the cutout is removed. The zoo's collaboration does have an end date, and presumably his true love will be removed from the enclosure on June 25.

[Via J-Cast, Yara-on!]

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