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International star, Ralph the penguin, is in desperate need of a new wetsuit.
The 13 year old Humboldt penguin is not like the rest of the colony at Marwell Wildlife. During his annual moult, Ralph loses his feathers quicker than other penguins, exposing his pale skin to the sun.
For the past couple of years, Ralph has had a wetsuit to protect him from the sun and keep him warm on colder evenings. However, with all Ralph's swimming and grooming, the wetsuit has now seen better days.
Anna Ing, Team Leader for the penguins said:
"Unfortunately Ralph's wetsuit is fraying around the edges and coming apart at the seams.
"The wetsuit gets good use, Ralph is a bouncy character who is always out on the rocks exploring. He regularly grooms the wetsuit, just as he would with his feathers, and his partner, Coral the penguin, is often seen grooming it too!
"We now need another wetsuit for him to make sure he doesn?t get sunburnt and to keep him warm."
Aside from wearing a wetsuit, Ralph swims, eats and plays just like his friends. The rubber in the wetsuit, which is the same as a human's wetsuit, is extremely flexible and doesn't restrict his movement.
David White, Collection Manager at Marwell Wildlife said:
"Ralph is a very healthy bird, but for some reason his feathers drop out very quickly, before the new feathers grow back in time.
"The last wetsuit was made to fit Ralph and had Velcro to make it easy to adjust when his feathers begin to come through and we are hoping for the same again. Although the wetsuit is the same material as a humans it will need extra features to make it ideal for Ralph.
"I think the other penguins were a little surprised when he first wore it but they soon got used to it and Ralph is perfectly happy to wear it."
Marwell are now appealing for a new wetsuit for the penguin- something that fits perfectly and is suited to the life of a penguin!
If you think you can help, Marwell would love to hear from you to discuss the exact specifications needed for Ralph.
Please contact Marwell's press team for further information on 01962 777947.
See a video of Ralph in his swimsuit by clicking HERE