Monday 19 February 2018

Washed up at 36: Penguin claims title of oldest in world

Missy the king penguin who lives in Birdland, at Bourton on the Water, Gloucestershire
Missy the king penguin who lives in Birdland, at Bourton on the Water, Gloucestershire

Rod Minchin

A PENGUIN has waddled forward to lay claim to the title of the world's oldest.

Missy the king penguin is thought to be 36 - two years older than the current Guinness World Records holder.

Now keepers at Birdland, at Bourton on the Water, Gloucestershire say Missy could be the oldest in captivity.

Missy is the matriarch of the colony and arrived as an adult at the park back in 1982.

Birdland manager Simon Blackwell said: "Although we cannot categorically age Missy, we do know she was an adult when she came to Birdland and king penguins take five years to become fully mature.

"Therefore she must be, at the very least, 36 years old and she could actually be significantly older."

Despite losing the sight in one eye, Missy is still very much a bird to be reckoned with and spends much of her time alongside Seth, her devoted partner of 18 years.

"She has very much become one of the most loved birds here at the park and she's definitely top of the pecking order among the penguins," Mr Blackwell said.

"The fact that she can only see out of one eye doesn't appear to have slowed her down at all and she uses one of her wings as a guide against the side of her enclosure to help her navigate her way around.

"Her partner Seth is also no spring chicken. He arrived two years after Missy but must also be in his early thirties.

"They're certainly the star couple as he had a leading role in the 1992 film Batman Returns playing an evil penguin alongside Danny DeVito."

In May, Odense Zoo in Denmark laid claim to the title and said one of its Gentoo birds was the oldest living penguin in captivity at the grand age of 34.

According to Guinness World Records, the oldest penguin ever in captivity was Rocky, a rockhopper penguin which was one of six that arrived at Bergen Aquarium, Norway, in 1974 and lived there until his death in October 2003, aged 29 years and four months.

Press Association

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