Penguin waddles away in custom orthopedic boots

STORY: Location: San Diego Zoo, California

This penguin has new therapy boots to help him walk

Lucas the penguin was diagnosed with bumblefoot

a degenerative foot condition in birds that affects their ability to walk

[Debbie Denton / Senior Wildlife Care Specialist / San Diego Zoo]

“Lucas was not walking appropriately, he was showing a lot of tenderness on his left side, which is where his bumble is located. So you would see him listing to the right a bit and you would see him limping on his left foot. Since we've been able to put the shoes on him, he's shown a much more normal gait walking on flat surfaces. There's no limping. There's no favoring his left side any longer.”

The custom orthopedic boots are cushioned and Velcroed in place

so Lucas can fully participate in the colony, climb rocks, swim and nest

[Debbie Denton / Senior Wildlife Care Specialist / San Diego Zoo]

“I'm so excited that we've been able to do this for Lucas. Lucas was one of the first birds that I raised here at San Diego Zoo. So I've known him since he was an egg, and we we are very attached to each other, so it warms my heart just to know that we've been able to do something to make him more comfortable, and to make him fit into the colony a little bit better.”