Pierre the penguin
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Pierre the penguin looked very down... bald and sad


Pierre, a venerable 25 years old penguin, was going bald, which left him with an embarrassingly exposed, pale pink behind.
A custom-crafted wetsuit may have helped the penguin, recover from a bout of baldness.
Biologists at the California Academy of Sciences commissioned the gear after Pierre began shedding his insulating, waterproof feathers. Unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank, Pierre ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water.
"He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the academy. Unlike marine mammals, which have a layer of blubber to keep them warm, penguins rely on their waterproof feathers.
Schaller first tried a heat lamp to keep Pierre warm. Then she got another idea: If wetsuits help humans frolic in the chilly Pacific, why not whip up one in a slightly smaller size? Staff at Oceanic Worldwide, a supplier of dive gear based in San Leandro, were enthusiastic about making a real penguin suit.
"We were really excited to do it," said Teo Tertel, company marketing specialist. "We heard most of these penguins only live to 20, and our little buddy there was already 25. Anything we could do to help them, we were all for it."
Schaller conducted fittings to design the suit, which fastens with Velcro at the back, covers Pierre's torso and has small openings for his flippers.
Pierre was outfitted with the suit about six weeks ago. Since then, he has gained weight, grown back feathers on his hind parts and is again acting like his feisty, alpha-male self. Too cool!


Pierre the penguin
California Academy of Sciences
With his brand new wetsuit Pierre is much better.. It seems Fonzie with is leather jacket... isn't it?


Pierre the penguin
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Pierre nowadays with his feathers again... as cool as a californian surfer


Pierre the penguin
California Academy of Sciences

Pierre the penguin
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)


Pierre the penguin(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)


Pierre the penguin
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)


Pierre the penguin
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)


Pierre the penguin
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)


Pierre the penguin
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)



A video of the story, by AP:

Comments

2 Response to 'The incredible story of Pierre the penguin: from bald to cool!'

  1. Karen
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/incredible-story-of-pierre-penguin-from.html?showComment=1272107576688#c7275091586988239073'> April 24, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    What a wonderful story . Thanks for sharing.

     

  2. Anonymous
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/incredible-story-of-pierre-penguin-from.html?showComment=1367822538433#c1166234528173590875'> May 6, 2013 at 8:42 AM

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