25/09/2017

Bristol Zoo Gardens’ cutest penguin

Bristol Zoo Garden’s penguin Mimi is one in a million.

She was hand-reared and has a special relationship with her keepers.

Three-year-old Mimi is never far behind them even when they are cleaning the windows of the enclosure she shares with the Zoo’s 51 other penguins.

She waits by the steps as they get ready to dive into her pool. Then when they step into the water, African penguin Mimi follows close behind.

She swims beside them on the surface and when they dive, she does the same.

Sometimes she can get in the way as they clean the glass but the keepers are happy to share the water with Mimi.

Bird keeper Andy Cope said: “It’s her favourite day of the week. She loves interacting with the divers.

“If there is anything unusual she likes to investigate it. She wants to find out what’s going on and basically likes to play.”

Andy said as Mimi is three years old she would soon be looking for a mate.

He said "Previous hand-reared penguins have done this and we expect her to do the same.

“In fact you can’t tell the hand-reared penguins from those which have been reared naturally.”

But Andy said he thought Mimi, named after the noise she made when she was a chick, would still want to interact with keepers.

”She will still come over to see us, especially for feeds,” he said.

Wild African Penguin numbers have dropped to less than 10 per cent of the population that existed in 1900 due to reduced availability of fish for them to eat in the oceans.  

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents. 

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