Penguins Charlie and Pringle delighted care home residents at Spencer Court, run by the Orders of Saint John Care Trust, when they popped in to the Oxfordshire care home for a special Christmas visit last week.
OSJCT Spencer Court offers a programme of fun, creative and varied activities which is especially designed to benefit the physical and mental wellbeing of residents, especially those with dementia, and to support the best quality of life possible. With activities as well as visits from families and loved ones heavily curtailed last Christmas due to Covid-19, the care home wanted to make Christmas extra special this year.
Dorte Chandler, Home Manager at OSJCT 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. What better way to do that than by welcoming these wonderful penguins right in to our care home. They are amazing creatures, and we are all enjoying learning more about them together.”
Charlie, aged 24, and Pringle, aged nine, are regular visitors to care homes all around England. They come from a breeding colony of 20 Humboldt penguins at Heythrop Zoo in Oxfordshire. The visit to the care home is part of the zoo’s programme of animal enrichment activity, providing mental and physical stimulus for the penguins. Enrichment is just as essential to the animal’s welfare as is proper nutrition and veterinary care.
A representative from Heythrop Zoo said: “These penguins are not only comfortable and familiar with travelling, but we believe they show positive behaviour signs when interacting with different people. Although they spend the majority of their time in the company of their own species, allowing them to exhibit normal behaviours including regular breeding and access to their swimming pool all day long, they are used to and therefore not stressed by the presence of human beings.”
The representative added: “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.”