Zoos provide an opportunity for people to see animals up-close, helping to bring them closer to wildlife. And sometimes, zoo visitors form instant close bonds with the animals — proving that maybe we aren’t so different after all.
Like one encounter captured in an adorable viral video, where a penguin appears to think a human guest is one of his own kind.
When Izzy Meltzer visited the Cincinnati Zoo recently, she paid a visit to the African penguin enclosure — and got the attention of one curious bird:
Izzy noticed that one penguin had gotten attached to her: whenever she’d walk around, the penguin would follow.
“I made a friend!” she says. “He’s pecking at me.”
Soon, she figures out why the penguin might be so attached: her very penguin-like black-and-white outfit.
“I think it’s because I’m dressed like this,” she says, and her companion behind the camera agrees.
Laughing about their “matching outfits,” Izzy continues to walk back and forth, as the curious penguin continues to follow her.
In the video she is heard saying that she “doesn’t want to leave.”
“This made my day!” she wrote on Twitter, joking about her “penguin-like resemblance.” The video has been viewed nearly 80,000 times.
Watch the video below:
While reaction to the video has been mostly positive, some worried that the penguin might actually just be trying to escape from his confines.
But the Cincinnati Zoo houses its colony of over 30 African penguins in a newly-built “African Penguin Point,” designed to give them the best possible habitat.
“Fans, misters, sprinklers, underwater jets, heat lamps, multiple substrates, and underwater enrichment attachment points provide a complex environment,” the zoo explains on their site.
It is also built to give them enough space to encourage breeding — which is crucial, as the African penguin is an endangered species, threatened in the wild by oil spills and overfishing.
The zoo also supports SANCCOB, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, a nonprofit that helps abandoned or injured African penguin chicks.
The Cincinnati Zoo shared Izzy’s video, calling her and the penguin “BFFs.”
After posting the viral video, Izzy shared a photo of the curious penguin: “A close-up of my pal!”
A close up of my pal! pic.twitter.com/nqaUxYNfNC— Izzy Meltzer (@IzzyMeltzer) November 11, 2021
What a sweet, funny video. Share this story with someone who loves penguins!
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