A female penguin named Olde (“great-grandmother” in Danish) was crowned by Guinness World Records as the oldest penguin in captivity in the world, at 41 years and 141 days of age, on October 4.
Gentoo penguins, species of Olde, are native to the Antarctic Peninsula and the sub-Antarctic islands. The life expectancy for these penguins in the wild is between 15 and 20 years, while those raised in captivity usually reach 30 years.
In either case, Olde smashes expectations. Although it is not uncommon for penguins to occasionally arrive in their 30s, it is extremely rare for one of these water birds to live for four decades. The last penguin to register at age 40 was Tess, an African female (Spheniscus demersus) died with age in 2015 in the United States.
An employee at the Odense Zoo, where Olde lives, Danni Larsen commented to the Guinnes website how it feels to have a world record holder in the enclosure: “It’s really fantastic! Our keepers are professionals and, as such, have no favorites – but I think it’s safe to say that Olde holds a special place in the hearts of all animal lovers. “
Apparently, however, Olde is not the center of attention at the zoo. Sandie Munck and Mette Heikel, two caregivers who work with penguins in Odense, said: “She [Olde] it is very quiet and calm. She is never the playful type, whether with other penguins or caretakers, nor has she ever been. “
Olde was born at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, on May 16, 1979. She was then transferred to Montreal, Canada, where she lived on display at a Sub-Polar exhibition for 23 years, before making her last move to the Danish zoo in 2003. She has lived there ever since.
Throughout his life, Olde has been a prolific contributor to Gentoo penguin breeding programs, having become a great-grandmother this year. Perhaps your Danish name should be updated to “Tip-Tip-Oldemor” to reflect the new relationship.