55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

Live Penguin Cams 

May 11, 2010

Pierre the Penguin:2007-2008


During 2007 “Pierre” began to show signs of balding, his feathers were slowly falling out and breaking. His feathers did not replace as they normally do annually. Medical tests were performed without any conclusion as to why he didn’t molt. Several therapies were tried yet none proved successful in re-growth of his feathers. With a wetsuit, a surgery and a new home: 2008 became a momentous year for “Pierre”. From January-February 2008 Pamela Schaller and Celeste Argel worked closely to make patterns and prototype suits in order to keep “Pierre” warm. They drew from their cooperative knowledge of penguins, tailoring and a dog raincoat enclosure design to finalize a suit that was functional and safe for a penguin. In February 2008 a neoprene wetsuit was sewn for “Pierre” from the patterns and prototypes designed at the California Academy of Sciences. “Pierre” was fitted with the wetsuit and a series of in-house custom tailoring occurred at the Academy until the wetsuit fit him perfectly. From February 2008-April 2008 the wetsuit provided “Pierre” an insulative layer that kept him warm while swimming and on land. Within 6 weeks of wearing the suit he molted (replaced his feathers). He no longer needed to wear the suit. By May 2008 “Pierre’s” eyesight was failing and he was diagnosed with cataracts. He underwent surgery to remove the cataracts. The surgery proved successful and his eyesight improved. On 27 May 2008 “Pierre”, “Homey” and 18 other African penguins were introduced to their current home in Golden Gate Park. -Pamela Schaller


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 4:14 pm

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