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Sir Nils, the penguin with the highest rank in the world


The Norwegian Army has promoted a penguin named Sir Nils Olav III to the position of Major General, the third-highest rank in the armed forces. At a special ceremony held at the Edinburgh Zoo, where Sir Nils Olav III resides, he was presented with this award.

 Currently, pictures of Sir Nils receiving his promotion have gone viral. Over 160 uniformed troops from His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guard attended the ceremony, according to images shared by the Edinburgh Zoo on X, formerly Twitter.

Its fascinating to know that honoring penguins is an old custom that dates back to the 1970s. The Norwegian King’s Guard adopted a penguin in 1972 while on a trip to the zoo.

The tradition of honoring penguins by the Norwegian King’s Guard has continued since then. In 1982, Nils Olav was promoted to corporal. He was promoted to sergeant in 1987, regimental sergeant major in 1993, honorary regimental sergeant major in 2001, colonel-in-chief in 2005, and major general in 2023.

 Sir Nils Olav III’s previous rank was a Brigadier. Sharing the announcement, the Zoo wrote on Twitter, “Arise, Sir Penguin…The highest-ranking penguin in the world, Sir Nils Olav III, has been promoted to Major General by the Norwegian King’s Guard…Sir Nils now holds the third highest rank in the Norwegian Army!” There have been about 140k views since the post became viral.

The Edinburgh Zoo also provided more details about Sir Nils, emphasizing his function as the mascot of His Majesty the King’s Guard. When the penguin was adopted during the Band and Drill team’s participation in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the title was given to him.

Zoo was given two different name to penguin

A king penguin at the Edinburgh Zoo was given two names: Major Nils Egelien, who arranged for the adoption of the animal by the zoo in 1972, and King Olav, the reigning monarch of Norway at the time.


A blog post with additional information about the penguin and his career was also provided by the zoo. According to Staff Sergeant Fredrik Gresseth of His Majesty the King’s Guard Band and Drill Team of Norway, “Sir Nils Olav is the mascot of His Majesty the King’s Guard and was adopted during one of the Band and Drill team’s participation at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The tradition of sending Nils Olav and his family fish, Christmas cards and visiting him during the unit’s participation at the Tattoo have been an important part of the Battalion’s history.” “His promotion this August, for good conduct and for being a superb example for the rest of the penguins at the Edinburgh Zoo, is a milestone in his career as mascot for the guard,” Gresseth added.

Sir Nils Olav is a popular figure in Norway. He has appeared in several Norwegian films and television shows. He is also a popular tourist attraction at Edinburgh Zoo.

Sir Nils Olav is a symbol of the close relationship between Norway and the United Kingdom. He is a reminder of the long history of friendship between the two countries.

Since being adopted in 1972, he has advanced through the ranks, beginning as a Mascot and moving up to Corporal in 1982, Sergeant in 1987, Regimental Sergeant Major in 1993, Honourable Regimental Sergeant Major in 2001, Colonel-in-Chief in 2005, Knighthood in 2008, Brigadier Sir in 2016, and now Major General in 2023, according to the statement.

The netizens react with joy to the trending post, someone even humorously remarked, “Does this now make Edinburgh Zoo a legitimate military target in the event of a war?” while another person wrote, “He is going to get very cocky with the other penguins.”

Please, also have a look into : Scientists claim Penguins ‘might be aliens’, after discovering chemical from Venus found in the bird’s feces

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