Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Highest Ranking Penguin in the World

Photo credit Dawn Nicholl/RZSS

Sir Nils Olav – RZSS Edinburgh Zoo’s very own knighted king penguin – celebrated the anniversary of his appointment as brigadier ofHis Majesty the King’s Guard by welcoming the newest edition to the northern rockhopper group at Penguins Rock.

The endangered rockhopper chick met Sir Nils Olav as he was moved into the large enclosure for the first time. The chick became the first northern rockhopper penguin to be born at the Zoo in eight years when it hatched on World Penguin Day on Tuesday 25 April.

Dawn Nicoll, Penguin Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “It’s already been a year since Sir Nils became the highest-ranking penguin in the world. In that year a lot has happened at Penguins Rock, including the arrival of the first northern rockhopper chick born at the Zoo in over eight years, so it’s been very exciting.

“The pair met once the chick was big enough to move out of the penguin creche and into the large enclosure at Penguins Rock with the other gentoo, king and northern rockhopper penguins. They noticed each other and seem to get on very well. The chick has taken a liking to scurrying over when Sir Nils calls, which is fun to watch. They are both very special members of the penguin group.”

In 2008, Nils Olav was given the prestigious honour of a knighthood – a position so high it had to be approved the King of Norway, King Harald V.  On 22 August 2016, 120 Norwegian servicemen gathered again at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo to attend Sir Nils’ latest promotion to brigadier. 

Penguins have been an integral part of the Zoo for over 100 years and the Zoo has the largest outdoor penguin pool in Europe. Penguins were one of the first animals to arrive at the Zoo, and the Society became world-renowned when they were the first outside the southern hemisphere to breed king penguins.

For all the latest from Penguins Rock, visit our dedicated penguin webcam:

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

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