Ralph rocks in his specially made wetsuit
Film and TV has given us penguins that can surf, penguins that can sing and even one with happy feet, but now a Cornish company has trumped them all.
Pictured is Ralph, a 14-year-old Humboldt penguin, who has one slight difference from those feathered friends around him… Ralph wears a wetsuit.
Rather than moulting feathers over a number of weeks, Ralph lost all his in one day, leaving him exposed to sunburn and facing weeks of being stuck indoors away from the other penguins, including his partner, Coral.
But, having heard of his plight, global surfing giant O'Neill and Lostwithiel wetsuit specialists Techneopro came to the little bird's rescue.
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Techneopro is a specialist wetsuit repairer for a number of big name surf brands and when O'Neill got in touch it gladly accepted the challenge of producing a wetsuit for a penguin.
Daniel Brinson, director of Techneopro, said: "O'Neill and ourselves sort of came upon the story at the same time and as we carry out all the repairs for O'Neill wetsuits they asked if we could make a suit for Ralph.
"His first suit had just been made from a cut-off of someone else's old wetsuit and had become very worn so Marwell Zoo had put out an appeal for a new suit and O'Neill responded.
"We knocked up a prototype for the zoo to try out with him and to give us a better idea of the pattern but in the meantime Ralph's feathers had grown back and we thought that was probably the end of it – but the zoo told us he'd lose his feathers again so we spent a lot of time working on the pattern and then made the finished product with the logos and name."
Ralph is now happily back outdoors with the other penguins looking very smart in his new, fully adjustable wetsuit. The new suit not only bears the Techneopro and O'Neill brands but also carries the name Ralph in bold white lettering across the back.