'World's oldest' Humboldt penguin, Rosie, celebrates 32nd birthday at East Yorkshire zoo

  • Astrid Quinn went to meet Rosie and spoke to John Pickering, zookeeper at Sewerby Hall

A Humboldt penguin believed to be the world's oldest is marking her 32nd birthday at Sewerby Hall and Gardens near Bridlington in East Yorkshire.

Rosie has lived at the zoo since 1990, and on Wednesday 20 April staff are celebrating her reaching another milestone.

At the age of 32, Rosie has lived significantly beyond the normal 15 to 20 year life expectancy of a Humboldt in the wild.

In captivity they can live slightly longer, although it is relatively rare for one to reach 30.

One of the oldest of the species was Emmanuelle, from The Akron Zoo in Ohio, USA, who lived to the impressive age of 36.

Members of staff at the zoo have organised a small celebration Credit: ITV Calendar

Fast approaching that age is Rosie, who staff at the zoo believe is the oldest living Humboldt penguin in the world.

Head zookeeper John Pickering said: "Rosie is still enjoying good health, and clearly loves her life here with us!

"We go the extra mile to ensure that she is well cared for, and I am absolutely delighted that she has reached this amazing milestone birthday.

A watermelon fishcake is on the menu for Rosie's birthday feast Credit: ITV Calendar

"She is a grand old lady – the life expectancy of Humboldt penguins in the wild is 15-20. Rosie has been with us since 1990, and has successfully hatched chicks over the years."

Last year, the zoo celebrated her birthday with a tasty watermelon fishcake

And in 2020, her 30th birthday went viral, with media coverage reaching as far as CBS News and ABC News in the USA, as well as Good Morning America.

According to the zoo, Rosie plans to enjoy her 32nd birthday with her offspring Twinnie, Webster and Flip Flop, and her first Grandchild Pickle who was hatched last year.

Rosie, along with her companions Dion, Pingu and Penny, have ensured the lasting popularity of the penguins at the zoo. All were bred in captivity, and have played a vital role in the zoo’s breeding programme since 1990.

Rosie arrived at the zoo in 1990 Credit: Sewerby Hall and Gardens

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

They are South American penguins and live mainly in the north of Chile, where they nest on islands and rocky coasts along the Pacific coast.