Polish zoo p-p-picks up an albino penguin

The three-month-old does not have a name, as Gdansk Zoo does not yet know if it is male or female.
The three-month-old does not have a name, as Gdansk Zoo does not yet know if it is male or female.PHOTO: REUTERS

WARSAW (REUTERS, AFP) - An albino penguin made its debut appearance at a Polish zoo on Friday (March 22) - the only bird of its kind in captivity, said staff.

The all-white African black-foot penguin was born on December 14, but zoo staff decided to keep its arrival secret as they were unsure the vulnerable newborn would survive.

The three-month-old does not have a name, as Gdansk Zoo does not yet know if it is male or female.

"It is shy and a little bit scared... We didn't want to put it through a stress of a thorough medical examination," marketing head Emilia Salach said.

“As far as we know, there is no other such specimen alive (in captivity) in the world,” Michal Targowski, director of the Gdansk Zoo, told the TVN24 commercial news channel.

“The baby is active, in good health, eats well and, what’s very important, its parents are taking very good care of it,” Targowski said.

Staff have kept it separated from most of the rest of the flock, fearing the other birds will reject it because if its unusual appearance.

"Every misfit in a flock is more exposed to rejection and harm... We can see already it hasn't been accepted yet by most of our little penguin family," said Salach.

It currently lives with its parents and two of the zoo's most placid penguins.

African black-footed penguins, also known as jackass penguins due to their braying noise, have been rated as endangered since 2010 after suffering from commercial fishing, shortage of prey and pollution.