Goodbye Rosie: World's oldest Humboldt penguin dies at Sewerby Hall aged 32

Rosie became a media star. Credit: ITV News

A penguin who was thought to be the oldest of her kind in the world has died at the age of 32.

Rosie, a Humboldt penguin, died in her sleep a few weeks before her 33rd birthday, keepers at Sewerby Hall and Gardens, in East Yorkshire, announced.

Head zookeeper John 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."

Rosie had a number of offspring who were born at Sewerby Hall.

Mr Pickering picked up Rosie and her partner Dion, who were both four months old at the time, from Birdworld in Surrey in 1990. The pair successfully hatched chicks over the years.

Humboldt penguins are classed as vulnerable to extinction in the wild, because of changes in climate and overfishing of prey. Life expectancy of Humboldt penguins in the wild is 15 to 20 years.

In recent years, Rosie became a star of media 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.

She was wished a happy 32nd birthday by Lorraine Kelly on ITV's Good Morning Britain and featured in Hello! magazine.

Mr Pickering added: "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."

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

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.