“Teddy” is not the prettiest, he has only one eye, is a little limp and likes to be in a bad mood. However, the rockhopper penguin has recently become a much-admired star on social media – because of his pink shoes. It’s just rocking,” Shanette Rutgers said as she shoves another fish up her beak in Cape Town, South Africa’s tourist city: it’s breakfast time at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
A video clip made by a 30-year-old zookeeper in his thirteen-headed “Teddy” rock penguin colony has grabbed the attention of social media. It shows the gentle forces as they wander through the aquarium’s aisles on a morning stroll: swaying back and forth, fins stretching on either side and cool, yellow-fringed hair swaying in time. Teddy wears pink socks, as does his friend Alex, at the end of the group Bubbles is followed by only one pink sock on his feet.
Head up to the rooftop for a morning swim in the Kelp Forest Gallery! 🐧 https://t.co/z3tg1vonlt
– Two Oceans Aquarium (@2OceansAquarium) May 29, 2021
The question of the meaning of this fashion show has attracted a large number of observers online – an interest that has impressed Shannett Rutgers. “Penguins bring a lot of joy; it’s great especially in these times when we can spread a positive mood,” she said, referring to flightless seabirds.
For 21 years, Teddy has lived with his partner, Wallace, in a nest in the Beach Aquarium. White sand, irregular rocks and a small area of water: it is an attempt to imitate a stretch of coast, the natural habitat of penguins.
Your neighbors in the nest – the aggressive Gromit and the lovely Roxy – have laid three eggs here. The first northern penguins born in South Africa hatch. Because rockhoppers – more appropriately called rockhoppers in English (roughly: rockhoppers) – are not native to South Africa. Its natural habitat consists of two separate regions of subtropical islands (southern South America) and sub-Antarctic (southern Australia and New Zealand).
13 rock hoppers have been rescued at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. Teddy was one of the first. He was found in December 1999 with his legs tied with wires. “We assume that he was kept on a ship as a ‘pet’ and thrown into the sea with his legs tied shortly before his arrival in Cape Town,” Rutgers said. That’s why today limping. When he got into the aquarium, he was completely grown up. “We estimate that he is about 30 years old now.” This makes “Teddy” an old man – because in the wild, penguins tend to live from 10 to 15 years.
They grow up in captivity. But then they swim less, so they stand on their feet longer — often in their litter, Rutgers explains. Bacterial infection forms in many small wounds on her feet, also called soles ulcers. The park ranger lifts Teddy and puts him on his forearm in a prone position. “You can see it very well with ‘Teddy,'” she says, slowly peeling the pink bandage off her feet. On the soles of the frequently used nails, you can see the punctate incision.
Teddy shrugs when Rutgers gently touches her with his finger. “It’s like a painful purulent pimple,” she explains. And who can walk on purulent blisters? That’s why Teddy and some of his older buddies wear a pink protective bandage. Rutgers can now quickly wear it. Today the bandages are purple. “Since the video was so successful, there’s no longer a pink bandage being asked of us,” she says and laughs, putting Teddy on his newly strapped feet and we’re off. Nothing hurts in the water anymore. Twist left, twist right, wiggle your tail and go – at lightning speed. Pink shimmer, because even a 30-year-old penguin is still a real hit in the water.
From: APA / dpa