A FEATHERLESS PENGUIN REGAINS HER PLUMAGE WITH SOME UNUSUAL HELP FROM AVIAN EXPERTS AT THE JURONG BIRD PARK

Singapore, 28 April 2010 – It was a pretty sight when Belle, the now-famous Humboldt penguin, at the Jurong Bird Park frolicked with her fellow penguins in her full-feathered glory recently. It was not too long ago that the 10-year-old was a featherless oddity and was treated like an outcast by her colony. She had missed her moulting cycle and was virtually ‘bald’ for the past four months.

Resourceful keepers and vets at the Bird Park chanced on the idea of designing a customised wet suit for the little Humboldt, which helped her stay buoyant and warm in the water. Together with a carefully managed holistic treatment that included husbandry practise and medication, Belle showed positive signs of recovery. Her feathers have since grown back, and she is now flaunting her full plumage.

Angelin Lim, avian keeper at the Jurong Bird Park, said, “We named this penguin Belle, with hopes that she will return to her beautiful self. Therefore, we were very encouraged when downy feathers started to show after we put her in a cut-out of a human wet suit in January. Her mood improved because she could swim and interact with her fellow penguins. While her condition may have been caused by stress or hormonal imbalance, it was the combination of this unusual ‘wet suit therapy’ and proper medication that led to her dramatic recovery. We are so happy to see Belle back at the Penguin Coast.”

The Penguin Coast is the Bird Park’s latest attraction, featuring a total of 96 penguins from six different species, including Humboldt, Rockhopper, Macaroni, Fairy, King Penguin and the latest African Penguin, a recent addition to the penguin family that is adaptable to tropical climates.

Penguin Coast hosts two 15 minute feeding sessions daily at 10.30am and 3.30pm to educate visitors about penguins and their feeding habits.

Belle showing positive signs of ‘recovery’ as she starts moulting again

Belle showing off her slow but sure transformation