Elmer's Glue saves the day for Sea World penguin
August 13, 1999
From Correspondent Bruce Burkhardt
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNN) -- The pengiun named Elmer at Sea World in San Antonio may look like all the others, but the fact that he's alive is a science marvel.
Ornithologist Cyndi Laljer became a little unglued when she noticed an egg bearing the unhatched gentoo penguin had a broken shell.
That would ordinarily be a death sentence for the chick, but Laljer came up with a sticky solution.
"I took the bottle of Elmer's Glue that we have sitting there on the counter, and I started putting the glue on the crushed-in side of the egg," she says.
The non-toxic glue protected the delicate membrane under the shell and gave the chick time to mature.
After two weeks in an incubator, the pengiun, named after its savior product, was ready to hatch. But he needed some help.
"The glue was so strong that Elmer could not get out of the egg himself," Laljer says.
Sea World is now using the procedure to mend other cracked shells, and they have plans to spread the word about their interesting discovery.
Today, Elmer delights visitors at his home in San Antonio. But undoubtedly, he doesn't have a clue what all the flap is about.
Scientists try to boost Argentina's penguin population
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