SAN DIEGO: Members of the African Penguin Colony at the San Diego Zoo wear orthopedic shoes to combat degenerative foot conditions.
A 4-year-old penguin named Lucas has lesions on his feet due to a chronic condition known as bumblefoot, which covers foot problems in various avian species, the San Diego Wildlife Alliance said in a press release Monday.
Left untreated, bumblefoot can lead to death from sepsis and infection.
The zoo’s wildlife care experts consulted an organization called Thera-Paw, which creates rehabilitation and support products for animals with special needs.
Thera-Paw created custom shoes made of neoprene and rubber to prevent Lucas from developing pressure ulcers while standing and walking.
The penguin problem started over three years ago.
African penguins have been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, due to a significant decline in populations.