Living Coasts’ UK champion penguin has died. Pat, the oldest-known female African penguin in the UK, celebrated her 37th birthday on January 20th this year. She was thought to have been the second-oldest penguin in Europe. Pat, who was also known by the slightly less romantic title of number 1389, was euthanased by zoo vets due to advanced arthritis. Living Coasts spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “Her quality of life had declined because of arthritis – the only thing to do was to put her to sleep. Pat had a terrific innings thanks to good husbandry, good vet care, good food and freedom from predators. It shows that the English Riviera is great for us more mature types!” The Zoo has the largest colony of African penguins in the UK. Pat was hatched at Paignton Zoo in 1978, but lived at Living Coasts ever since it opened in 2003. Her toy-boy partner Eddie was hatched in April 2001 (also at Paignton Zoo), making him just 14. The pair lived in Burrow 19. Living Coasts Operations Manager Clare Rugg said: “Pat had a very distinctive stance with her flippers sticking out. She could be seen by her burrow or down at the public feeds. She was a very sweet penguin, quite happy to approach keepers for fish, but once she decided she had had enough she always headed back to her burrow holding a sprat in her beak. Eddie liked to preen her and show her lots of affection. He is genetically important so we hope he will find a new partner.” Pat hatched nine chicks in her time - she even had three great-grand penguins at Living Coasts.

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