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Pierre the Penguin
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Animal
    (February 16, 1983-May 8, 2016)
    Born in Baltimore, Maryland
    African penguin
    Hatched at the Baltimore Zoo
    Transferred to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
    Went nearly bald when his feathers failed to grow back after molting (2005)
    Biologists designed a custom-tailored neoprene wetsuit to keep him warm (2008)
    After six weeks in the wetsuit, his feathers began growing back
    Subject of the children’s book ‘Pierre the Penguin: A True Story’ (2010)
    Unlike Patrick Stewart or Michael Jordan, bald was not a good look for him.
    His loss of feathers threatened his alpha male status.
    Other penguins shunned him when he went bald.
    NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ called him ‘the world’s best-dressed penguin.’ (Not that there was much competition for the title.)
    After he donned the wetsuit and resumed swimming, the other penguins associated with him again and he regained his alpha status.
    He died of renal failure at age 33, more than twice the 15-year life expectancy of a penguin in the wild.
    Assistant curator Vikki McCloskey said, ‘He definitely had personality.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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