International Antarctic Centre celebrates world's oldest blue penguin

At 25 years old, Toto - a little blue penguin at New Zealand's International Antarctic Centre - is believed to be the oldest of her kind in the world.

A sweet natured little blue penguin called Toto, who likes to wiggle and dance on her feet, has just reached the grand age of 25 and is believed to be the oldest blue penguin / korora in the world.        

Hatched in captivity at Napier’s Marineland, Toto and several other penguins that were deemed unable to survive in the wild were moved to the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, several years ago when Marineland was closing down.  

“Toto is still happy doing her own thing and we leave her to it most of the time – we just help her when she needs it,” says Penguin Keeper, Dianne Lim.   

Having lived four times the average life span of a blue penguin, Toto’s eyesight is not as good as it used to be, she seems to be a bit forgetful and is sometimes found in odd places around the enclosure. But Toto can pack away the fish pretty quickly when she is hungry and still swims; always with her trademark dance at the end, that is longer than all the other penguins.

As for the secret to her longevity: "Her boyfriend Danny is her big love and he’s quite a few years younger than her. He had damaged flippers and is not so good in the water but he is a champion nest builder and Toto always has a nice warm bed to come home to!  They are our longest lasting couple by far,” says Lim.

Toto was born on 6 December, 1990 and was moved south to Christchurch in 2007.  

About the little blue penguin

  • The smallest penguins in the world 
  • A sub-Antarctic species living mainly around the lower southern regions of New Zealand 
  • Weigh between 1 and 1.5kg
  • Average life span in the wild is 6.5 years 
  • Chicks will often return to within a few metres of where they were raised and do not move away once they have settled in an area 
  • Commonly nest in burrows, rock crevices, caves, nesting boxes, or under buildings
  • Feed on 30 different kinds of fish, baby octopus, squid and crustaceans

About International Antarctic Centre

The International Antarctic Centre is a tourist attraction based in Christchurch, New Zealand offering visitors an interactive, immersive and fun Antarctic experience. All little blue penguins in residence at the International Antarctic Centre are rescue birds that would not otherwise survive in the wild.

International Antarctic Centre, 38 Orchard Road, Christchurch, New Zealand