Dee Celebrates her 32nd Birthday
On Tuesday 19th June 2012 uShaka Sea World’s oldest Penguin, Dee is celebrating her 32nd Birthday.
Dee arrived at Sea World on the 19th June 1981 after stranding on a beach in Port Elizabeth. Being a very young bird she had possibly found herself in difficulty venturing out further than she should have, chasing after the sardines. For the last 31 years we have chosen the day she arrived as the day we celebrate her birthday (judging by her feathers we assumed she was already a year old when she came to us).
Luckily for starving and severely dehydrated young Dee, Sea World Durban had just opened their now world renown, African Penguin Rehabilitation Centre. She was flown up and was one of the first patients to be admitted from beyond the borders of KZN. She remained at Sea World, then situated at the end of West Street, until 2004 when along with 18 other penguins she relocated to uShaka Sea World. Since 2004, 69 young penguins have been born into the colony and each of them has his or her own personality and peculiarities. Dee is loved by all the staff involved in caring for the penguins as although she is assertive and quite demanding at times, she is always eager to give and receive nuzzles and still enjoys new experiences.
Until recently she held the favourable attention of a handsome young male but sadly, he left her for another much younger more fertile lady. Being rejected in her twilight years endeared her to the animal care staff who took pity on her and lavish her with pampering and special treatment.
Believed to be the oldest African Penguin in the world, Dee still enjoys a healthy appetite and participates in a moderate amount of socialising with the other penguins before retiring to her own special section in the rookery where she can observe without participating in the boisterous behaviour of the younger ones. As was seen recently on Idols when she met uNati she is still capable of getting her own way and manipulating the world around her.
African Penguins generally do not live much longer than 15 years and therefore Dee has more than doubled her natural lifespan.