Penguins on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have been struck with a peculiar ailment that is leaving scientists confused and the birds chilly. It has been dubbed “feather-loss disorder,” and its root cause is unknown. The Wildlife Conservation Society released a report about the malady, which also causes penguin chicks to grow at a slower rate than normal. If you happen to see a tiny penguin with all its little penguin bits out, don’t stare; it has a disease.
The sickness is not directly fatal, but it does cause chicks to soak up more rays from the midday sun than usual. This behavior has occasionally led to deaths. The Wildlife Conservation Society’s P. Dee Boersma feels bad for the penguins, and so should you:
“We need to learn how to stop the spread of feather-loss disorder, as penguins already have problems with oil pollution and climate variation. It’s important to keep disease from being added to the list of threats they face.”
The Society is hosting a 5K “Run for the Wild” to benefit both featherless and feathery penguins in need around the world. The fundraiser will be held on April 30th at the Bronx Zoo. Watch out for snakes!
“Naked” Penguins Baffle Experts [The Wildlife Conservation Society via CNN]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 9, 2011