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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 10:46 GMT
Penguin pines for lady companion
Pugwash, a South African Blackfoot penguin, with a park staff member
Pugwash started latching onto humans after his mate's death
An endangered penguin is pining for his life-long mate who has died of old age.

Pugwash, a 12-year-old South African Blackfoot penguin, can only watch as three other couples in his colony carry out their mating rituals.

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park in Devon have been searching for a new companion for him ever since Cherry, Pugwash's mate of eight years died.

The park spokeswoman said they needed to find another zoo with a solitary female penguin of the same species.

The park has contacted a number of zoos without success.

We would really like him to know that he is a penguin again and find him a new partner
Nikki Morrison
Dawn Butcher, the park manager said: "Because they basically bond for life I have to find someone in exactly the same position as us, where they have a surplus female because a mate has passed away."

Nikki Morrison, the park's penguin keeper said the penguin had started to latch onto humans in the absence of a mate.

"He was pretty upset to start off with but he has fallen in love with some of the keepers.

"Any keeper that comes in he does tend to be fairly friendly towards them. "But we would really like him to know that he is a penguin again and find him a new partner."

The South African Blackfoot are also known as jackass penguins because of their distinctive call.

A Cornish seal sanctuary is also looking for a new partner for a sea lion after the death of his long-term mate.

See more on Pugwash's pining

Partner sought for sad sea lion
17 Mar 06 |  Cornwall
Penguin zoo refuses to lose hope
27 Dec 05 |  Hampshire
Zoo burglars steal baby penguin
19 Dec 05 |  Hampshire

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