LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The three remaining penguins - Shazam, Sagely and Donner - at the Columbian Park Zoo are now in stable condition after fighting avian malaria for two months.
Over the past few months, six of the nine African Penguins at the Columbian Park Zoo succumbed to suspected avian malaria, a disease which only affects birds and cannot be transferred between humans or other animals.
“We are happy to say that our three remaining penguins, Shazam, Sagely, and Donner are all stable at this time,” Caitlin Laffery, assistant zoo director, said in a release. “We’ve seen an increase in appetite, improved energy levels, and blood values starting to return to more normal values. We are cautiously optimistic that their condition will continue to improve and we are hoping for the best.”
According to the release, avian malaria is caused by the protozoan "Plasmodium" and is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitos. The first penguin to die of the suspected disease did so on Oct 28. Five more deaths followed, with the most recent being on Nov. 28.
"We were prepared for avian malaria prior to the penguin colony’s arrival this summer,” Laffery said. “We had exposure risk reduction strategies in place, including a mosquito-abatement program and the use of prophylactic anti-malarial medications prescribed by our veterinarian. Unfortunately, these measures were not enough to protect all of our birds. Although the three remaining birds are stable, we continue to monitor them extremely closely.”
Outpours of support from Lafayette citizens to those within Columbian Park have been coming in since the initial announcement of the birds' deaths.
“This has been devastating for the entire zoo staff," Neil Dale, zoo director, said in the release. "We have felt the loss of each bird deeply. We can’t thank the community enough for their support and kind words through a very difficult time."
Dale says in the most recent update from Columbian Park that work on the Penguin Cove exhibit is being done for additional safety and preventative measures to ward off future exposures.
Support for the zoo staff can be directed to the Zoo’s mailing address at 1915 Scott St, Lafayette, IN 47904.
Margaret Christopherson is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @MargaretJC2
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Remaining Lafayette zoo penguins in stable condition after six die
Source : https://news.yahoo.com/remaining-lafayette-zoo-penguins-stable-141326760.html565