May 26, 2014 8:20 PM by Andy Koen

Pueblo Zoo has oldest captive penguin

PUEBLO - It was a very special birthday at the Pueblo Zoo this afternoon. A Black Footed African Penguin name Tess turned 40 today, a record for female penguins kept in captivity. In the wild, penguins usually live between six and 8 years.

Zoo staff served cake and cookies to guests who came to celebrate. They also dished up a frozen "penguin cake" to Tess and the other penguins made with Alaskan Eulachon Smelt fish, their favorite.

"She is super healthy. She is really, really, well," said Melanie Pococke, Animal Service Coordinator for the Pueblo Zoo. "She's got a little arthritis but she doesn't let anything slow her down. She is an amazing girl."

Ken Cid brought his family to come celebrate, in part because his daughter is such a big penguin fan. When the family adopted a penguin in Antarctica, she asked to go visit the bird over Spring Break.

"Its great you know for one of the smaller zoos," Cid said of the birthday party. "We've got this program that one of the top, we've got the record holder for the oldest penguin."

The record for the oldest male penguin in captivity is 42 years, but Pococke believes Tess will easily pass that mark.


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