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Mrs. Wolowitz, penguin named for ‘Big Bang’ mom, dies in Scotland zoo

Devoted to her one offspring, she was thought to be oldest of her kind in the world, as well as the ‘sassiest penguin in the colony’; she died after a fox broke into her enclosure

Mrs. Wolowitz, a 35-year-old northern rockhopper penguin, who was named after the character of Debbie Wolowitz from the TV sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," died on August 11, 2022, at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. (The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland - RZSS)
Mrs. Wolowitz, a 35-year-old northern rockhopper penguin, who was named after the character of Debbie Wolowitz from the TV sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," died on August 11, 2022, at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. (The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland - RZSS)

A penguin named after a Jewish character from the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” who had a “massive personality” and was attached to her offspring, has died in a zoo in Scotland after a fox managed to break into her enclosure.

Mrs. Wolowitz, a 35-year-old northern rockhopper, was thought to be the oldest of her kind in the world, having lived double her life expectancy, according to local media.

“Sadly, we lost her last night after a fox broke into our penguin enclosure. Thankfully, the rest of our colony are unharmed and are doing well,” Edinburgh Zoo said last week on Twitter.

Mrs. Wolowitz hatched in 1987 at Edinburgh Zoo’s Penguins Rock, considered Europe’s biggest outdoor penguin pool.

The large enclosure made it vulnerable to break-ins by wild animals, the zoo said, adding that it was looking into reinforcing the boundary.

“We know so many of you loved Mrs. Wolowitz, our oldest penguin… Her massive personality will be missed,” the zoo said.

According to Dawn Nicoll, senior animal keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, Mrs. Wolowitz was “the oldest and sassiest penguin in the colony.”

Speaking to Edinburgh News in May, marking Mrs. Wolowitz’s 35th birthday, Nicoll said the penguin had only produced one offspring in her lifetime and that the two were inseparable.

According to the report, the penguin Mrs. Wolowitz was named after a Jewish character from the successful TV sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” Debbie Wolowitz, who has a similar relationship with her son Howard on the show.

The report said Mrs Wolowitz the penguin had become somewhat of a star herself over the years, gaining a fan club among the zoo’s visitors who would look out for her in her favorite sunny spot.

“We all have a soft spot for Mrs Wolowitz. She always gives us a honk when we arrive in the morning and then when we shout ‘goodnight’ at the end of the day,” Nicoll said at the time.

While Mrs. Wolowitz may have been the most famous penguin named after a Jewish character and despite her seniority, she was not the most famous penguin at Edinburgh Zoo, which is also home to Sir Nils Olav III, a king penguin who serves as the mascot and colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard.

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