Timmy flips ri­vals for pen­guin ti­tle

Hastings Leader - - News -

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.

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