Unfortunately for a little Adelie penguin named Wonder Twin, located in SeaWorld of Orlando, Florida, feather loss is impacting her ability to stay warm and naturally regulate her body temperature.
She’s the only penguin in the pack that appears to be exhibiting this condition, and experts from the park are concerned about her staying warm. The condition can reportedly affect penguins in their natural wild habitats too, so this isn’t related to being held in captivity.
To do something about it, SeaWorld has created a custom wetsuit for the animal that can be slipped onto her body and will hopefully provide some warmth where her absent feathers cannot.
SeaWorld says penguin feathers exist in high density on the penguin’s skin at around 100 feathers per square inch. This high-density patch of feathers helps keep water away from the animal’s skin, making drying off faster and working as a type of thermal control.
The wetsuit, which is actually really cute because it’s penguin-sized and has little holes on the sides for each of the penguin’s small flippers, is supposed to mimic these properties by staying skin-tight and allowing the penguin to dry off quicker. It even comes with a complimentary SeaWorld logo embroidered on it!
The other penguins at SeaWorld Orlando are also huddling up with Wonder Twin when they sleep, regardless of the wetsuit. This behavior allows all of the penguins to share each other’s body heat, allowing for natural temperature regulation.
Technology benefits invalid animals’ lives all the time. Dogs born without legs have been given a second chance at mobility with sets of strap-on wheels, tortoises without shells have been given replacements. Tit’s heart-warming to see technology at work for the good of life.