A popular penguin residing at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco has died at the age of 33, the agency said Friday.
Pierre, who was known to wear a wetsuit and was featured in a children’s book, succumbed to kidney failure. He was the oldest bird in the academy’s African penguin colony.
During his life, Pierre had multiple mates and produced 16 chicks, 27 grand-chicks, and 11 great grand-chicks. African penguins were classified as an endangered species in 2010 and are at very high risk of extinction in the wild.
In 2007, biologists designed a wetsuit for Pierre when his feathers didn't grow back after a difficult molt. He wore the suit for several weeks in 2008 and his feathers grew back.
Pierre hatched on February 16, 1983, at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and was raised by his parents in Maryland until he was a juvenile. In June 1983, Pierre was sent to the California Academy of Sciences with 15 other African penguins to start the new penguin colony.