SAN DIEGO (AP) — A member of the San Diego Zoo’s African penguin colony has been fitted with orthopedic shoes to help him deal with a degenerative foot condition.
The 4-year-old penguin named Lucas has foot injuries due to a chronic condition known as bumble foot, which covers a variety of bird foot problems, the San Diego Wildlife Alliance said in a statement Monday. Press release.
If left untreated, bumble foot could lead to sepsis and death from infection.
The zoo’s wildlife care specialists turned to an organization called Thera-Paw, which creates rehabilitation and assistance products for animals with special needs.
Thera-Paw created custom shoes made from neoprene and rubber to prevent pressure sores from developing when Lucas stands and walks.
The penguin’s problems began more than three years ago.
African penguins have suffered massive population declines and are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.