The penguin with molting issues and her own customized wetsuit is now in fine feather, SeaWorld Orlando officials say.
Wonder Twin, a 26-year-old Adelie penguin and longtime SeaWorld resident, was not growing new feathers, which is a vital annual ritual for the species. The result: bird pattern baldness.
But it was more than an issue of vanity.
“The most important feature of a penguin, I believe, are the feathers,” said TJ Dray, an aviculturalist at the theme park. The birds have about 70 feathers per square inch, he said, keeping them warm in water.
“They spend three-quarters of their life in the water. They get their food from the water,” Dray said. “If they don’t get those feathers every year consistently, they can start having issues with their health.”
Her scarcity of feathers – Dray estimates the coverage was at 50 percent — the water in the SeaWorld habitat was too chilly for Wonder Twin.
“She …