Timmy flips rivals for penguin title
Timmy has out-flippered Mo to become the National Aquarium of New Zealand’s first ever Penguin of the Year.
The finalists are both “bad boys” who regularly feature in the Naughty and Good Penguin of the Month competition, which the keepers started just over a year ago.
The public were asked to vote for their favourites through social media and the National Aquarium website last month, then choose their favourite from Timmy and Mo.
Corban Bell, seven, and his family found Timmy washed up on a Napier beach three years ago. They popped him in a lunchbox and brought him to the National Aquarium, now his permanent home. His spinal injury was possibly from a boat strike. With physio he can now walk a little, but he can’t return to the wild.
Corban and his dad Ian were at the Aquarium last week for the announcement, where he fed Timmy.
“I’m absolutely stoked that Timmy has won. I’ve been trying to get all my family and friends to vote for Timmy because he deserves it.” Between October 1 and 28 more than 10,700 votes from all over the world were received, from Guatemala, Estonia, Iran, Belarus, Vietnam, Singapore, Peru, China, India, Canada, the US, UK and Australia.
There were plenty of comments, such as “there’s a little bit of Timmy in all of us”, and “you are doing great work for these amazing animals”.
Some wished they could come to New Zealand to see the penguins, says Napier City Council director community services, Antoinette Campbell.
“We always knew our penguins were special. This competition has proven they’re special to people the world over. We hope it encourages more people to come and see what the fuss is about.”
It has also been an opportunity to share the good work of the keepers at the National Aquarium, she says, and raise awareness of the challenges Little Penguins face.
Timmy is famous for his fish stealing feats, while Mo, abandoned as a chick who also has a thing for stealing fish, has the slightly dubious honour of being a four-time winner of Naughty Penguin of the Month.
The National Aquarium is a rehabilitation centre for most of the little blue Penguins. Penguins which are not strong enough to return to their natural habitats end up with the National Aquarium becoming their permanent home.
The keepers at the aquarium will continue sharing their Good and Naughty Penguin of the Month and are in the process of getting new signs up to share the good news about the Penguin of the Year.
Timmy has taken out the hotly contested title of Penguin of the Year 2018 at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.