It could be a case of p-p-p-pick up a penguin as an aquarium in Weymouth has put a penguin on the national singles dating website Plenty of Fish in the hope of finding him a mate.
Spruce, a one-year-old male Humboldt penguin at Weymouth Sea Life Park is searching for a mate and when his carer Sarah Everett recognised how lonely he was for love, she decided to do something about it.
Sea Life penguins specialist Sarah explains: “Our team hand reared Spruce from a chick and we successfully reintroduced him into our penguin colony. All the adult penguins are now entering their breeding season and are busy making nests. It would be nice for Spruce to have another single penguin to spend his time with, rather than his keepers.”
The other penguins in his group are either male or already coupled up.
“Penguins are very affectionate birds by nature and often mate for life,” continues Sara. “I really want to see Spruce settle down with the right girl and after searches for potential mates at other Sea Life centres proved fruitless – they have the same problem as us, too many boys – I thought it was time to look further afield.
“Plenty of Fish has been really useful as a means of putting information about Spruce online so I can share the link on social media and send it to other penguin carers around the world – the right girl for him is out there somewhere and I’m determined to help him find her.”
Sarah went on to say: “Spruce is quite a young penguin at one-year-old; we wouldn’t normally expect a Humboldt penguin to be looking for a mate this young – Spruce is clearly quite an early starter, which is why we are eager to start putting feelers out now. A lot goes into finding the right match for a penguin – we will have to investigate bloodlines and all sorts of other factors, before we can even look at moving a lady penguin into our colony and getting her settled. This is why we are keen to start the search now, so when Spruce is mature enough to father chicks, he is already in a stable, long-term, loving relationship.”
Spruce’s Plenty of Fish profile has allowed Sarah to describe his likes – which include seafood and swimming – and his relationship needs – ‘a partner for life who I can make some little chicks with, as I’m a family man at heart.’
Sarah is now appealing for the public to share Spruce’s Plenty of Fish profile on their social media pages and spread the word to help him find a mate.
“The lady penguin will need to move here to Weymouth Sea Life Park, so we need to try as many aquariums and parks as possible as understandably many might not want to let one of their treasured penguins go – but I’m really hoping if we search far and wide enough, someone will find the heart to match two lonely penguins together to create the perfect ending to this love story,” adds Sarah.
Spruce’s Plenty of Fish profile has proved so useful that Sea Life staff have also created another profile for Spruce’s fellow bachelor penguin, Sequoia, whose likes include ‘Blue Planet’, David Attenborough and diving. It is hoped, when they are ready, that the two bachelor penguin boys will be able to join the Weymouth Sea Life Park’s breeding programme for Humboldt penguins with their respective mates.
In the wild, Humboldt penguins colonise on the coasts of Chile and Peru where there are estimated to be fewer than 10,000 pairs still surviving. Penguin colonies at aquariums like Weymouth Sea Life Park may one day provide a vital lifeline for this endangered species.
The main causes of the penguins’ decline are climate change, habitat destruction, overfishing of the fish they eat for food and nest destruction due to commercial guano harvesting.
To find out more about penguin conservation at Weymouth Sea Life Park visit www.visitsealife.com/weymouth.
To visit Spruce’s profile on Plenty of Fish, please visit: http://www.pof.com/viewprofile.aspx?profile_id=147704950.
To visit Sequoia’s profile on Plenty of Fish, please visit: http://www.pof.com/viewprofile.aspx?profile_id=148107943.