03 May 2011

Penguins join in Royal Wedding celebrations

Penguins Will and Kate
celebrate the Royal
Wedding with keeper
Sophie Dugmore. Photo:
Dudley Zoological Gardens
UK - It was hard to escape Royal Wedding fever in the UK, even for penguins.

Dudley Zoo in the West Midlands named two Humboldt penguins William and Kate when the wedding announcement was made, and zoo staff and hundreds of visitors helped the penguin pair celebrate the nuptials on 29 April along with the real royal couple.

As chicks, penguins William and Kate were rejected by their mothers during the cold snap last autumn. They were hand-reared by dedicated keepers and since November have made steady progress in the aviary nursery. They are gradually being introduced into the main group, which at 60-plus birds is the largest Humboldt penguin colony in the UK.

Dudley Zoo's CEO Peter Suddock explained that as the zoo incorporates the 11th century Dudley Castle, it has strong royal connections.

"Queen Elizabeths I and II have both visited and several dukes and earls have strong ties with the site, so we felt it fitting to send Prince William and Kate an adoption pack for their namesakes and wish them well for a long and very happy future."

"We’re not quite sure where [penguins William and Kate] will settle once they are fully integrated in the penguin enclosure, so just for fun we have labelled the nesting boxes Clarence House, Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace and Kensington Palace, to give them a fairly regal choice for their first home."

I wonder if penguins William and Kate now insist on being addressed as Duke and Duchess by the penguin commoners?

DZG's Royal Wedding, Dudley Zoological Gardens, 29 April 2011

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