Penguin colony at Dudley Zoo decimated by outbreak of avian malaria

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A colony of penguins has been virtually solely worn out at a zoo in England after an outbreak of avian malaria.

Dudley Zoo introduced “with immense unhappiness” quite a few its “much-loved Humboldt penguins” had died in an outbreak of the illness.

A zoo spokeswoman advised i that they had misplaced about 70 per of the colony of 69 however added they “didn’t need to put an actual quantity on it because it may nonetheless change”.

It follows an outbreak of avian flu in Devon which has been handed on to a human.

Derek Grove, zoo director, mentioned: “We’re all heartbroken with the massive loss in Penguin Bay and it’s been an particularly distressing time for our fowl group who’ve devoted years to their care.

“Their dedication and tireless efforts to take care of our penguins over latest weeks has been exemplary.

“They’ve supplied round the clock care to individually deal with the birds of their struggle to avoid wasting as many as potential and we thank them for his or her willpower.”

Avian malaria is a parasitic illness, which can’t be handed on to people or different animal species, transmitted by the chunk of an contaminated mosquito.

The zoo mentioned regardless of intensive efforts from veterinary consultants and the zoo’s fowl keepers the outbreak couldn’t be halted and lots of the penguins had been misplaced.

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“Having consulted with avian consultants and animal collections world wide, we all know we’ve completed all we will”, mentioned Mr Grove.

The West Midlands zoo mentioned it has had a profitable breeding programme for Humboldt penguins over the previous 30 years.

Beginning out with 5 hand-reared chicks in 1991, it has gone on to have one of many largest self-sustained colonies within the nation, with lots of the penguins serving to increase new teams at collections across the nation.

“Fortunately occurrences like this are uncommon and in over three many years we’ve by no means skilled something prefer it earlier than”, mentioned Mr Grove, “Sadly, penguins are notably vulnerable to the illness as they don’t have pure resistance in opposition to it and it’s additionally not simply identifiable by means of medical assessments.”

He mentioned he didn’t know “if final 12 months’s uncommon climate sample has performed an element, with moist and muggy climate not solely impacting the penguin’s moulting season but additionally rising the chance of mosquitos”.

However he added: “What we do know is we now have to concentrate on persevering with to deal with the remaining birds and putting in extra preventative measures to keep away from this tragedy occurring once more.”

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