The discovery of the child naked penguin made by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), University of Washington, Seattle, United States, and several other environmental groups tried to solve the causes of the condition. Penguin naked hairless disorder was found in penguin colonies on both sides of the South Atlantic in recent years.
“Hearing loss of hair that was not something commonly found in most species of birds,” said P. Dee Boersma, of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Washington. “We must do further study to determine the cause of these defects and to check whether these disturbances spread to other penguin species.”
Hair loss disease in young penguin was first detected in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2006. At that time, researchers from the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) observed disorder for the first time on African penguins at a rehabilitation center.
In that year, about 59 percent of children in the facility penguins lose their feathers, then followed by 97 percent of baby penguins in the following year. In 2008, 20 percent of young penguins who were treated also showed that disruption. Children who suffer from the disorder penguins takes longer to grow to a size suitable for release back to nature. Abnormality that did not last long. In the end, the boy king penguins begin to grow new feathers.
Abnormalities were also found in young Magellanic penguins in the wild coast of Argentina in 2007. The scientists also noted that, unlike normal penguin children who seek shelter from the hot afternoon sun, the child remained bare sunbathing penguin. During the study, some children penguin disorder patients died.
Besides growing more slowly, kids naked penguin is smaller and lighter than the child’s normal penguins. Differences occurred because of the increased energy needed to heat regulatory function due to the loss of insulating fur coat. The scientists suspect the cause of hair loss that is a bacterial pathogen, thyroid disorders, and nutritional imbalances or genetics. “The emergence of the disorder in populations of wild birds indicates that the abnormality is something new,” said Mariana Varese, from the WCS Latin America and the Caribbean.
Scientists are trying hard to stop the spread of this disorder. “Penguin has faced the problem of oil pollution and climate variation,” Boersma said. “It’s important we try to prevent this disease, which add to the list of threats to the penguin.”