A penguin that had to be isolated due to health conditions is watching TV show Pingu to cure his loneliness.
Pierre the penguin is in rehabilitation at Perth Zoo in Western Australia after his annual moult stopped halfway through, meaning his coat isn’t waterproof.
To keep him entertained, Zookeepers have been using an iPad to livestream footage of other penguins at Kansas Zoo in the US and Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. He also loves to watch episodes of Pingu – an animated TV show about a family of penguins.
One of his carers said Pierre enjoys using the iPad and is extremely intrigued by the other penguins. Footage shows him happily flapping his wings as he watches the iPad’s screen.
Pierre is less than a year old and is thought to have arrived at the zoo after surviving a ‘record breaking’ swim from islands in the Indian or South Atlantic Ocean, before washing ashore on a beach in southwest Australia.
Vets said his moult may have stopped because he wasn’t getting the right nutrients to sustain feather growth or because of environmental conditions.
Dr Peter Ricci told ABC Pierre needs to put on weight to help with his moult before he can be released back into the wild.
‘He is a pretty cool little penguin. He is really used to people – and being the only Rockhopper we have in care we try and make his life as enriching as possible while he grows his feathers back,’ Dr Ricci said.
Rockhoppers are some of the rarest penguins on earth, with less than 240,300 breeding pairs in existence.
Dr Ricci said it may take a while before Pierre can be released into the mainstream population.
Every day he is fed, given a light water mist and weighed and likes to check himself out in the mirror.
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