Penguins delight care home residents with Christmas visit

These happy pictures will p-p-p-pick up your mood in darkest December
Penguins delight care home residents with Christmas visit

Joy Pomfret, 88, and carer Angela Leggett, with a visiting penguin at the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire.Picture: Des Dubber/OSJCT/PA Wire

Two penguins have delighted residents at a care home in a Christmas visit, waddling around the room as the beaming residents looked on.

The Humboldt penguins, 24-year-old Charlie and nine-year-old Pringle, visited Spencer Court from Heythrop Zoo in Oxfordshire.

Head of Care Jane Ravenhill with Humboldt penguins Charlie and Pringle during a visit to care home residents at the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire. Charlie, aged 24, and Pringle, aged nine, from Heythrop Zoo in Oxfordshire, are regular visitors to care homes all around England as part of the zoo's programme of animal enrichment activity, providing mental and physical stimulus for the penguins
Head of Care Jane Ravenhill with Humboldt penguins Charlie and Pringle during a visit to care home residents at the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire. Charlie, aged 24, and Pringle, aged nine, from Heythrop Zoo in Oxfordshire, are regular visitors to care homes all around England as part of the zoo's programme of animal enrichment activity, providing mental and physical stimulus for the penguins

"These penguins are not only comfortable and familiar with travelling, but we believe they show positive behaviour signs when interacting with different people... they are used to and therefore not stressed by the presence of human beings," said a spokesperson for Heythrop Zoo.

"It is the belief of Heythrop Zoo that by bringing unusual and undomesticated species to the attention of the general public - particularly when accompanied by educational talks - they raise community awareness that indirectly aids conservation."

June Hicks, 86, and Doreen King, 91, with Humboldt penguins Charlie and Pringle during a visit to the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire
June Hicks, 86, and Doreen King, 91, with Humboldt penguins Charlie and Pringle during a visit to the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire

Residents were pictured enjoying the unusual company, with the penguins even seen perched on several laps.

Charlie and Pringle are no strangers to care homes, regularly visiting them all across England as a form of therapy for residents.

Joyce Drewitt, 98, with a Humboldt penguin during a visit to the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire
Joyce Drewitt, 98, with a Humboldt penguin during a visit to the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire

Dorte Chandler, manager at Spencer Court, said: "Residents and colleagues at the home have experienced very challenging times since Covid-19 emerged, so we wanted to make this Christmas extra special for everyone.

Peter Pavitt, 84, with a visiting penguin at the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire
Peter Pavitt, 84, with a visiting penguin at the OSJCT's Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire

"What better way to do that than by welcoming these wonderful penguins right into our care home. They are amazing creatures, and we are all enjoying learning more about them together."

Humboldt penguins are native to Peru and Chile, and can reach speeds of up to 30mph (48kph) when swimming.

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