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Humboldt penguin dies at zoo

August 13th, 2009 · Comments

The Woodland Park Zoo is reporting that one of its new Humboldt penguins has died after ingesting a sealant material used in the exhibit pool’s pipes. Here’s what the zoo said in a press release:

According to Dr. Darin Collins, the zoo’s director of Animal Health, the 18-year-old, male penguin had not regained a normal appetite following its normal molting period and was receiving intensive medical care for a suspected intestinal blockage. After an exhaustive search, zoo staff located the source of the material and removed it. There have been ongoing inspections to locate any loose pieces of the sealant in portions of the exhibit’s pool.

The male penguin, named Chiquito (chi-KEE-toe), arrived in March from Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

Veterinary staff performed an endoscopy (a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure to assess the interior surfaces of an organ) and x-rays today on one of two other penguins that are currently under veterinary care for similar, but less severe, symptoms. “No foreign objects were found in the upper gastrointestinal tract,” explained Collins. This penguin will continue to receive veterinary care treatments and supportive care. “While the prognosis remains guarded at this time, a steady to normal recovery is expected over days to weeks.”

Each bird’s food intake is closely monitored, and any bird that does not consume a normal amount of fish during a feeding is placed under close observation. “Unfortunately, some penguins do have a bad habit of ingesting foreign objects, so we constantly conduct visual sweeps of their environment daily for anything that could be hazardous to the birds.”

The zoo’s Humboldt penguin exhibit opened in May with 20 penguins from various other zoos.

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