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PINK PANTHERS; EXCLUSIVE London Zoo's Gay Day.. & debate on camp animals.

Byline: By JAMES FIELDING and SUSIE BONIFACE

LONDON Zoo is holding a special gay day - featuring drag queens and a debate on homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

The event aims to promote gay and lesbian culture and raise awareness of endangered wildlife at the same time.

Thousands of same-sex couples are expected to pour into Regent's Park for the bash, called Gay Sunday at the Zoo.

High-profile gay celebrities have also been invited, including Sir Elton John, Dale Winton, Graham Norton and Erasure singer Andy Bell. Camp Little Britain star David Walliams has also been asked to attend.

Visitors will be met at the front gates by drag artists in platform heels and beehive wigs, and whisked inside to a cabaret bar. A jazz band, fronted by another drag queen, will belt out Frank Sinatra tunes as couples unwind in the VIP lounge and champagne and cocktail terrace.

They will be free to explore the zoo and pet cute animals, as fire jugglers entertain them.

Organisers, the London Zoological Society (LZS), say they're also planning to hold a discussion on the possibility of gay animals. London Zoo was selected as the venue for the Gay Sunday event because it's becoming a top gay date spot.

Organiser Joanna Green said: "This is a day dedicated to the gay community and hopefully it will go down a storm. It will be fun, educational and, of course, very, very camp.

"A walk through our tropical butterfly tunnel will add a romantic touch to the day. But people can also come face-to-face with African hunting dogs and a giraffe.

"We have 650 species of animal at the zoo, many of which are highly endangered.

"This day is all about celebrating gay culture and encouraging conservation.

"There will be a discussion from gay organisations and wildlife experts, debating homosexuality within the animal kingdom."

A LZS spokesman added: "We're in the final stages of drawing up the special guest list. Sir Elton will be top of the list, but everyone is welcome - the more, the merrier."

A spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall said: "I'm sure a lot of people will have a great day out."

Tickets for the September 17 event are pounds 14.50 on the gate.

news@sundaymirror.co.uk

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WINGSOFLOVE

FLAMINGOS Carlos and Fernando, from Slimbridge wildfowl reserve in Glos, have been together for five years and reared chicks from stolen eggs.

PENGUINS Silo and Roy (left) at New York's Central Park Zoo were together six years before Silo fell for a female.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2006
Words:436
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