SAN DIEGO (AP/WJW) — A member of the San Diego Zoo’s African penguin colony has been fitted with orthopedic footwear to help it deal with a degenerative foot condition.
The 4-year-old penguin named Lucas has lesions on his feet due to a chronic condition known as bumblefoot, which covers a range of avian foot problems, the San Diego Wildlife Alliance said Monday in a press release.
If left untreated, bumblefoot could lead to sepsis and death by infection.
The zoo’s wildlife care specialists turned to an organization called Thera-Paw, which creates rehabilitative and assistive products for animals with special needs.
Thera-Paw created custom shoes made of neoprene and rubber to prevent pressure sores from developing when Lucas stands and walks.
The penguin’s problems began more than three years ago. A penguin at the St. Louis Zoo got special shoes last year due to issues with arthritis.
African penguins have suffered a massive population decline and are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.