It's a Brr-Brr-Bromance - arthritic penguin called Dippy becomes best mates with his keeper, Dave

A true friendship – Dave with Dippy (PA)
A true friendship – Dave with Dippy (PA)

An arthritic penguin called Dippy has forged a bromance with his 57-year-old keeper.

Dippy, a Humboldt penguin, moved to Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre a year ago when his long-term home on the Isle of Wight was forced to close.

And Dippy, 21, has grown particularly fond of aquarist Dave Warriner, who readily admits that tending to the penguin entourage is his favourite daily duty.

While Dippy seems happy when any of his human guardians enter his enclosure, it is only Dave who gets an enthusiastic braying call and then a swift waddle approach to receive a friendly tickle.

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“I must confess I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for him,” said Mr Warriner, of Caister-on-Sea. “It’s the way he lifts his little wings so I can tickle him underneath.”

The keeper has to rake the sand in the enclosure and give things a general sprucing up, including brushing down the sloping rock that is Dippy’s very own disabled access ramp into the penguin colony’s pool.

Dippy is one of 15 Humboldt penguins at the centre, all captive-bred.

As well as entertaining visitors with their antics they help raise awareness of penguin conservation needs.

Humboldts have been reduced to an estimated 10,000 pairs in their native Peru and Argentina, mainly because of overfishing of their favourite food source.