World’s oldest Humboldt penguin dies just a few weeks before 33rd birthday

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    The world's oldest Humboldt penguin has died at a Yorkshire zoo shortly before her 33rd birthday.

    Rosie had been the star attraction at Sewerby Hall Zoo near Bridlington, where she had resided since she was just four months old.

    She died peacefully in her sleep on Friday (March 10), just a few weeks short of her 33rd birthday.

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    Rosie was taken to Bridlington from Birdworld in Surrey along with her partner Dion in 1990, when head zookeeper John Pickering collected them.

    Dion and Rosie hatched several chicks over the years, and along with companions Pingu and Penny ensured the penguins became one of the zoo's most popular features.

    Hull Live reports that Rosie and her friends had played a vital role in the zoo’s breeding programme since 1990.

    Humboldt penguins are classed as vulnerable to extinction in the wild because of changes in climate and overfishing of their preferred prey species.

    Life expectancy of Humboldt penguins in the wild is 15-20 years.

    Mr Pickering said: “We are all devastated by the loss of Rosie. I myself have been with her since she was four months old and we have spent 32 years of our lives together in one way or another, through all of life’s trials and tribulations.

    “The rest of the team have always had a very special place in their hearts for Rosie too, as do many of the other staff and visitors who have always enjoyed watching Rosie at feeding time and often asking how she is doing.

    “It has been an absolute joy for all of us on the team to look after her over so many years, and to see how she herself has looked after her chicks.

    “It is such a big loss for the zoo and she is going to be greatly missed by all.”

    In recent years, Rosie had become a star of television and social media across the world.

    On her 30th birthday in 2020, she was featured on CBS News and ABC News in the USA, as well as Good Morning America.

    Her recent birthdays also saw Rosie featured on social media in Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

    In addition, Rosie was wished a happy birthday by Lorraine Kelly on Good Morning Britain on ITV.

    Rosie’s offspring Twinnie, Webster and Flip Flop and her first grandchild, Pickle, can still be seen in the zoo, along with Toby, Pikachu and Sigsbee.

    To honour Rosie's memory, Sewerby Hall Zoo will be holding a special tribute and the team are inviting the public to share their memories and photos of Rosie on social media using the hashtag #RememberingRosie.

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