A penguin in a Japanese zoo, who fell in love with a cardboard cut-out, has died by the side of his beloved partner.
The elderly penguin, Grape-kun, fell in love with the cardboard cut-out after it was placed in his pen for an ad campaign.
When staff tried to remove the cut-out, Grape-kun became inconsolable, so it remained in there with him until his death, yesterday.
— 東武動物公園【公式】リュウくん (@tobuzoo7) October 13, 2017
Grape-kun was a penguin at Tobu Zoo and their staff reported 20-year-old Grape had passed away after a short battle with an illness.
The amorous penguin did have a penguin partner, but after ten long years of monogamy, she left him, reports the Daily Mail.
Thankfully, Grape-kun found love again,…this time with the cutout and his tender story has been brought to the attentions of millions of fans around the world.
— 東武動物公園【公式】リュウくん (@tobuzoo7) September 3, 2017
Fans and staff alike were concerned for Grape when he was dumped by his girlfriend, Midori, who left him for a younger penguin.
He became very depressed and wouldn’t spend time with other penguins, becoming more and more reclusive, at least, until he met his new muse.
The cardboard cutout was of a character from an anime series Kemono Friends, who does strongly resemble a penguin’s colour pattern.
— 東武動物公園【公式】リュウくん (@tobuzoo7) September 18, 2017
Grape was seen exhibiting rituals of courtship, such as extending his wings and facing her with his beak up and it soon became pretty obvious, the little guy had fallen for the her,… sorry, the cutout.
She / the cutout had to be removed from the pen not long afterwards, to protect it from flying away during a period of stormy weather in Japan.
When she went missing, Grape apparently became visibly heartbroken, so staff had to quickly return her to him.
— 東武動物公園【公式】リュウくん (@tobuzoo7) August 29, 2017
On Friday, staff at the zoo tweeted:
The Humboldt penguin Grape-kun passed away yesterday. Sincere thanks to everyone for supporting him until now.
Thank you also to Hululu, who watched over him until the very end. And thank you, Grape-kun, for all this time.
Rest peacefully in heaven.
RIP Grape-kun – let’s hope he’s buried with his love Hululu.