Starting March 17, 2020, the Santa Barbara Zoo closed down due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Three days later, one of the zoo's Humboldt penguins, Monty, began exploring other habitats in the zoo with his keeper Ellie Cullip.
Cullip came up with the idea as another enrichment activity for him after the zoo closed down to visitors.
Videos and photos of his adventures were shared on the zoo's social media channels and have now become the subject of a new book, "Monty's Marvelous Adventures."
The book is written by the Santa Barbara Zoo's marketing coordinator Dori Edwards.
After seeing the response on social media to videos and photos of Monty, Edwards thought to write about the experiences from his point of view.
“I feel so lucky and grateful to watch the positive impact Monty made on so many,” Edwards said. "I wanted people to be able to have something from 2020 that reminded them there's always a hope to hold on to, even when it feels like there's not."
Included are stories of him meeting Bangori the Western lowland gorilla, Michael the Masai giraffe, HoneyBun the rabbit, and leopard tortoises — while remembering to find a favorite leaf along the way.
Montecito Bank & Trust, which sponsor Monty and another penguin at the zoo named Cito Jr., sponsored the publication of "Monty's Marvelous Adventures."
The book is for sale on the zoo's online shop and all proceeds go directly to support Monty and all of the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
The first 100 copies sold will receive a limited edition book personally signed by Monty himself with painted flippers.