Pam Schaller love for penguins leads to new book 

The Academy of Sciences head biologist handmade a wetsuit to protect a balding penguin. The wetsuit enabled the animal’s feathers to rejuvenate, and inspired the recently released book “Pierre the Penguin.”

Why did Pierre go bald? We did a lot of testing to figure out why and nothing came out medically conclusive. Penguins lose their feathers every year. The best, most-educated guess is that he was so chilly that he was using too many calories just to maintain his temperature.

Has anyone tried to mimic your penguin wetsuit? I have heard from two different facilities on penguins and one on a sea lion, or it may have been a seal, but those situations were similar.

What happened after Pierre put on the wet suit? Penguins are highly territorial. So I thought it’d be difficult with the alpha-male thing. But he basically just walked back to his territory and got back into the pool within about 24 hours of wearing this suit. I started to notice he was no longer shivering, no longer isolating himself, and it was a lot quicker than I would have assumed.

What’s your favorite page in the book? If I had to choose, it’d probably be, “One day aquatic biologist Pam, observing the penguins, saw one in a jam. Gently, gently, she examined Pierre. His feathers were gone. His bottom was bare.”

— Kamala Kelkar

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Doug Graham

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