Meet Wonder Twin, an Adelie penguin at SeaWorld Orlando that recently lost most of her feathers due to a rare and debilitating condition known as feather loss disorder. In the wild, the affliction is often a death sentence due to the fact that penguins require feathers to regulate their body temperature.
As a resident at SeaWorld, however, Wonder Twin caught a break. Staffers there have given her the next best thing to feathers: a custom, penguin-tailored wetsuit, reports Seeker. The getup looks especially fitting. After all, penguins are often heralded for their suits. Wonder Twin hardly appears to miss a beat.
The wetsuit was cut to allow full range of the bird's wings, and doesn't seem at all restrictive around the legs and throat. In fact, Wonder Twin seems capable of keeping up with the other penguins. She can be seen doing typical penguin things in the video provided by The Guardian here:
The exact cause of feather loss disorder is something of a mystery, but it's seen in both wild and captive penguins. It was only first documented in 2006, but has since been reported across the South Atlantic. Researchers don't believe it is caused by a virus or bacteria, and it doesn't appear contagious. Penguins afflicted with it also tend to grow at slower rates than their companions.
The hope for Wonder Twin is that she will eventually begin to grow feathers again and make a full recovery. Her second chance at a happy penguin life is also a unique opportunity for scientists to study the condition in a controlled environment.