San Diego Zoo penguin fitted with orthopedic shoes

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A member of the African penguin colony at the San Diego Zoo has been fitted with orthopedic shoes to help him cope with a degenerative foot disease.

The 4-year-old penguin named Lucas has lesions on his feet due to a chronic condition known as bumblefoot, which covers a range of avian foot conditions, the San Diego Wildlife Alliance said in a press release Monday.

If left untreated, bumblefoot can lead to sepsis and death from infection.

The zoo’s wildlife care specialists turned to an organization called Thera-Paw, which creates rehabilitation and assistive products for animals with special needs.

Thera-Paw created custom neoprene and rubber shoes to prevent pressure sores from developing when Lucas gets up and walks.

Penguin’s problems started more than three years ago.

African penguins have suffered a massive population decline and are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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