A Northern Rockhopper penguin that’s been isolated due to a health problem has taken to watching livestreams of other penguins and the TV show Pingu when he is lonely.
Pierre the penguin is in rehabilitation at the Perth Zoo after his annual moult stopped halfway through, meaning his coat isn’t waterproof.
Zookeepers use an iPad to livestream footage of other penguins at Kansas Zoo in America and Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland to keep Pierre entertained.
He also loves to watch episodes of Pingu, which is a clay animation television 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 showed the penguin happily flap his wings as he watched the iPad’s screen.
Issues with his coat are clearly visible in the clip.
Pierre is less than a year old and is thought to have arrived at the zoo after swimming to a beach in the south-western part of Western Australia from islands in the Indian or South Atlantic Ocean.
Vets at the zoo said Pierre’s moult may have stopped because he wasn’t getting the right nutrients to sustain feather growth or because environmental conditions were not favourable.
Perth Zoo veterinarian Dr Peter Ricci told the ABC Pierre needs to put on weight to help with his moult.
‘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.
‘We give him a lot of activities for him – most recently we got him an iPad so we can stream other Rockhopper colonies for him from zoos around the world.’
He said it may take a while before Pierre can be released into the mainstream population.
Every day Pierre is fed, loves to check himself out in the mirror, and is given a light water mist and weighed.
Rockhoppers are some of the rarest penguins on earth, with less than 240,300 breeding pairs in existence.