Video: The life and times of Sealife's penguin Dippy, who died aged 22
PUBLISHED: 11:22 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:24 20 December 2017
A penguin who became one of the star attractions at a seaside tourist hub has died aged 22.
Dippy, a Humboldt penguin, migrated to the Sea Life UK in Great Yarmouth in 2015, where he was rehomed with a number of his closest friends.
He had previously lived at Seaview Wildlife Encounter on the Isle of Wight, an attraction he moved to in 1997.
However, two years ago, when the attraction closed down, Dippy and a number of his cohabitants were relocated to Great Yarmouth.
Already 20 years old at this time, Dippy had developed arthritis, with Sea Life UK providing an ideal home for him.
Specifically designed ramps to the pool allowed him to waddle in and out of the pool - rather than risk injuries by hopping.
While living at the centre, he developed a strong relationship with keeper Dave Warriner, who Dippy became particularly fond of.
Mr Warriner said at the time: “I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for him. It’s the way he lifts his little wings so I can tickle him.”
Chris Sturdy, curator at Sea Life UK said: “Dippy had been suffering for a long time with arthritis, so our penguin enclosure was the perfect home for him.
“He also proved to be one of the tamest and most confiding of the new arrivals and as a result quickly stole the hearts of every member of staff.
“Some members of the team were almost inconsolable when Dippy passed away, and it hit us all very hard.”
Dippy was a bachelor, so leaves no widow, however more than a dozen of his feathered friends at the centre are in mourning.
Mr Sturdy added: “It will be a sad Christmas, but we can take consolation from the knowledge that he had a full and active life and was probably Britain’s most loved penguin.”
While living in the Isle of Wight, Dippy gained a big following and even had his own website, recounting his fictional adventures across the island.
In February 2011, his Facebook profile was taken down by moderators because he was not human.