Pierre made news headlines earlier in the year due to him facetiming with other Rockhopper Penguins whilst being treated at Perth Zoo’s wildlife hospital.
Being the only Rockhopper Penguin in Australia, the novel enrichment activity ensured that Pierre could still see and hear other penguins. This resonated with people all over the world who were separated from friends and families or in isolation due to the global health crisis.
Senior Veterinarian, Alisa Wallace, said: “Pierre came into our care due to issues with his feathers not moulting properly.”
“It is what we call ‘arrested moult’ and means the penguin is not waterproof and unable to swim and fish for themselves.”
“We’ve been fattening him up and giving him all the nutrients and care he needs promote feather growth; however, it is an issue that can take multiple moults and some years to rectify.”
“Knowing that Pierre would need extra TLC for some time, our aim has always been to get him fit enough to be able to travel to another conservation zoo which has Rockhoppers so he could be with other penguins.”
“His welfare is our priority, Pierre is very social, and we know he will thrive being amongst other penguins,” said Alisa.
Pierre will leave Western Australian this week and move to Jurong Bird Park in Singapore which is home to a Rockhopper Penguin colony.
“Their ‘Penguin Coast’ is home to various species of penguin. They are experts at caring for these beautiful marine birds and we have no doubt this is the perfect long-term home for Pierre.”
“He has been such a charismatic patient to have the honour of treating, and will be missed, but we know this is the best outcome for Pierre,” said Alisa.
Northern Rockhopper penguins are endangered. The global population is thought to be less than 240,300 breeding pairs and has declined by 60% in the past four decades. Approximately 85 percent of the species’ population is found in the South Atlantic Ocean and breeds at the Tristan da Cunha archipelago.