Pueblo penguin breaks a world record

Tess is officially the oldest living female African Penguin, ever! FOX21 News

The Pueblo Zoo is home to a record-holding penguin!

Tess the penguin is currently the oldest African Penguin, male or female, in captivity.

But, on Monday, May 26, she set yet another record and became the oldest living female African Penguin ever.

“She’s just extremely healthy. She’s got a little arthritis, and she certainly doesn’t go running around like the younger penguins you know, but she loves to swim!” Melanie Pococke, the Animal Service Coordinator and primary caretaker of the penguins at the Pueblo Zoo explained.

Pococke said it’s very possible Tess could even outlive the oldest male penguin’s record age of 42.

Monday, the Pueblo Zoo celebrated this milestone birthday, giving a “cake” of frozen fish to the penguins in the enclosure.

“It’s a fish-cicle basically. And I made the fish tails stick out so it looks kind of like candles,” Pococke said.

For the human visitors, a sweeter cake with icing designed as Tess’ habitat was served.

“They’re so cute!,” Brooke Uhlman, a 5-year-old penguin lover said, as she watched the little birds waddle. 

“Her whole room has more penguins than you can imagine,” her mom, Denise said. “She has big penguins, small penguins, even a life-sized penguin. We have aboue six penguin books,” she explained.

Needless to say, many of the kids, like Brooke, were excited to get to share in the birthday celebration. They were just glad they didn’t have to share the fishy ice-cake.

Tess was originally brought to the Pueblo Zoo as a temporary solution for the trouble she was causing at the Denver Zoo in 1999.

According to Pococke, Tess kept interfering with another pair the Zoo was trying to bond. “She is a boy magnet! She also tends to go for the younger males, she’s a bit of a cougar,” Pococke said, laughing. Tess’ longevity could be due to her vivacious spirit, and frequent flirting.

But, not to fear. Tess has now found true love with an penguin eight years her younger, named Mongo. Mongo and Tess have been together since 2006. According to the Zoo, she adores Mongo and, in turn, he is extremely attentive and dotes on her. They are proud to report she has not seriously flirted with other males since pairing up with Mongo.

If you’d like to see the penguins and visit the zoo for free, the Pueblo Library has a dozen Pueblo Zoo passes that can be checked out. They are good for four people, and can be checked out for a full week.

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