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Mochica, one of the oldest penguins in the world, dies at 31

Mochica the Humboldt penguin has died at 31.Shervin Hess / Oregon Zoo

A Humboldt named Mochica, who is considered the oldest male penguin in the world has died at age 31 at the Oregon Zoo in Portland.

The penguin had vision problems in his last days due to age, cataract in one eye, haze in another, and arthritis in his hips due to old age. However, like most of all, he was unable to walk. The zoo in Portland said Mochica, hatched July 6, 1990, was “hand-reared, a standard practice at the time.”

“But Mo, as he was known for short, grew up different from the other chicks. More than any penguin in the zoo’s large Humboldt colony, he enjoyed spending time with people, often choosing keepers’ quarters over the company of his fellow birds in the Penguinarium,” the zoo wrote.

Mochica was euthanized at 31, about 11 years older than a Humboldt penguin who typically lives in the wild because zookeepers said his old-age ailments had become too numerous for palliative care. 

According to the management of the Oregon Zoo, global efforts to save the birds will continue after Mochica’s death. Currently, there are only 12,000 pairs of Humboldt penguins found off the coast of Peru and Chile.