(WILDLIFE/ANIMAL RESCUE) Eric Stewart’s ordinary bike ride turned into a life-saving opportunity when he came across a penguin in need along the coast of South Africa. The penguin was so tame that Stewart was able to scoop him up and deliver him to a seabird rescue.

The little bird was paralyzed from a possible head injury, which Stewart–a stroke survivor–understood all to well. With love in his heart, Stewart built a special walker to help his new friend learn how to waddle again.

Time has passed and the penguin is doing well except for one last detail–a name. Read on to see how you can help. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)
This little penguin slowly learned how to waddle on his own again thanks to this special walker built by rescuer Eric Stewart. Photo Credit: Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)

The DoDo, Sarah V Schweig

When a paralyzed penguin was found on the beach on the Western Cape of South Africa last December, local resident Eric Stewart saw himself in the bird.

Photo Credit: Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)
The penguin currently resides at SANCCOB, a seabird rescue center in Cape St. Francis, which will serve as his forever home. Photo Credit: Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)

Stewart often rides his bike past the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), a seabird rescue center in Cape St. Francis, where the penguin found a forever home. (The bird’s injuries and sweet demeanor make it impossible for him to return to the wild.)

“The bird was in a very tame state upon arrival here at the center,” Nada Manengela, marketing and fundraising coordinator for SANCCOB, told The Dodo.

No one knew why the penguin became paralyzed, Manengela said, but rescuers suspect that he sustained head trauma.

Stewart sympathized with the penguin’s plight because he knows how hard it is to come back from a head injury. Stewart had to learn how to walk again after a stroke a few years ago.

“I got tears in my eyes when I saw the penguin for the first time and I wanted to do something to help,” Stewart told News 24. Stewart decided that the penguin deserved a chance to walk again, so he built a tiny walker.

After a month in the walker, as well as swimming lessons three times a day, the little penguin amazingly learned how to waddle on his own again.

“He continues to live a very good quality of life in our home pen,” Manengela said.

With so many people believing in him, it’s no wonder he’s getting better.

Now all this penguin needs is a name. You can email name suggestions [email protected], and donate to help him here.

More The DoDo: https://www.thedodo.com/paralyzed-penguin-walker-south-africa-1970201296.html

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