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In memoriam: Singapore Zoo mourns passing of Ben, a 14-year-old African penguin

Singapore Zoo bids a heartfelt farewell to Ben, a beloved 14-year-old African penguin. Ben’s approachable charm and role-model presence touched visitors of all ages, leaving behind cherished memories and a legacy of resilience.




SINGAPORE: Sad news emerged from the Singapore Zoo, a 14-year-old African penguin, has passed away.

The male penguin, affectionately known as Ben, departed on 28 August.

Mandai Wildlife Reserves (MWR) conveyed their condolences in a heartfelt video on Instagram, commemorating the life of this aquatic flightless bird.

In a somber caption, MWR expressed their grief, stating, “We are extremely saddened to share that we bade farewell to Ben, our beloved 14-year-old African penguin, yesterday.”

A valued participant in the zoo’s Adopt an Animal program, Ben had endeared himself to visitors over the years.

His legacy extended beyond his species as he played a significant role in educational presentations, events, and initiatives.

The average lifespan of an African penguin is 10 to around 25 years in the wild and up to 30 in captivity.

Ravan, a dedicated member of the Penguin Care Team and Ben’s longtime caregiver, shared his sentiments:

Ben was a role model, especially for most of the penguins over here. He is approachable and often involved in a lot of our presentations, events, and programmes. He was a well-loved penguin by all children and adults.”


Ben, a 14-year-old African penguin (Photo: Mandai Wildlife Reserve)

Ravan continued, “he was one of the most approachable penguins in the flock at Singapore Zoo.”

Yet, even Ben’s resilience couldn’t conquer all challenges. As Ravan put it, “Ben himself was a fighter, but sometimes, even the strength of these combined efforts is just not enough.”

Details concerning Ben’s passing have been disclosed, shedding light on the circumstances that led to this loss.

An extensive diagnostic process unveiled the presence of growths within Ben’s respiratory system.

He underwent rigorous treatment for his ailment, with the hope of recovery.

However, a recent CT scan delivered unfavorable results, indicating a deterioration in his condition.

Following careful consideration by the veterinary team and caregivers, it was clear that Ben’s discomfort had reached a point beyond tolerability.

Ravan elaborated on the difficult decision made, saying, “We made the tough humane decision to let Ben pass on while he was under anesthesia.”


(Photo: Mandai Wildlife Reserve)

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Why do I suddenly feel so indignant that our zoo, funded by taxpayers and donations, treats a non human so much better than the pap government treats our own needy citizens? Our own citizens had to wait long in line, had to choose between food and medical procedure, had to cough out hard cash, had to apply to social welfare with head hung, just to pay medical bills? Is there something terribly wrong with this upside down world called Singapore?