First there was Cinders, the pig (www.dogonews.com/2008/06/12/cinders-a-pig-that-fears-mud) who was scared of mud and now we have 11-year old Kentucky, a Humboldt Penguin, who is petrified of going into the water.
The zookeepers at the Blackbrook Zoological Park in Staffordshire , attribute Kentucky's issues to his birth. The weakest and smallest of all his siblings, the penguin has always had problems with moulting - a process whereby birds replace their damaged feathers with news ones. Most birds do it once or even twice a year.
While Kentucky has always had a problem growing back new feathers, the problem is becoming more severe as he gets older. With not enough feathers to keep him warm, Kentucky hates getting into the cold water and is now seen standing at the edge, staring forlornly , as his fellow penguins splash about in the water.
Lately, things have gotten so bad that the zoo keepers have to force Kentucky to get into the water a couple of times day or douse him with water, in order to keep his feathers clean.
He has however, become a darling with zoo visitors, who regularly visit the penguin enclosure, just to get a glance at Kentucky.
Hopefully the zoo officials will find some solution to Kentucky's problems - maybe even get him a wet suit like the folks at the California Academy of Sciences did when faced with a similar issue (http://www.dogonews.com/2008/04/26/pierre-the-penguin.).
Humboldt penguins, named after the Humboldt cold current that flows along the coast of North and South America, are one of the most shy species of penguins. Found in the wild on the coast of Chile and Peru , they are warm water penguins who stay close to the coastline feeding off small fish, krill and other crustaceans . The penguins can live in both salt and fresh water environments, thanks to a gland in their body, that enables them to separate the salt from the sea water. Wish we could do that, then all our water issues would be solved!
Source: mirror.co.uk, wikipedia.com