While most penguins enjoy belly-sliding and snacking on small fish, this particular bird has a more important job – inspecting the King of Norway’s Guard.
Nils Olav, a resident king penguin at Edinburgh Zoo, has been given a senior military honor when he was bestowed with the title of “Brigadier Sir Nils Olav” in a ceremony attended by 50 Norwegian soldiers.
During the ceremony Nils Olav paraded down the Zoo’s Penguin Walk, ending his inspection of the Guard with a wail and a quick scratch of the head. After this, a zoo-keeper attached Nils Olav’s new medal to his wing.
And this isn’t the first honor the bird has been awarded: in 2005 he was made colonel-in-chief for the King of Norway’s Guard.
The bird even received a knighthood, approved by King Harald V of Norway, in 2008. From Monday the animal’s title was extended to “Brigadier Sir Nils Olav.”
Barbara Smith, acting chief executive for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “We are honored to host His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guard as they bestow a prestigious new title upon our king penguin, Sir Nils Olav.
“It is a very proud moment and represents the close collaboration between our two countries, Scotland and Norway.”
Brigadier David Allfrey, producer and chief executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, added: “This is just a simply fantastic example of the great relations between our two countries, and it couldn’t be a more charming tradition. Congratulations, Brigadier Olav!”