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Woodland Park Zoo Mourn Passing of Their Oldest Penguin

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: October 27, 2020 10:40 pm

penguin passing woodland park zoo

Mr. Sea receiving a fish from a keeper

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo has humanely euthanized their 31 year old, Humboldt penguin Mr. Sea after a decline in his health. Mr. Sea was the zoos oldest penguin and one of the oldest captive penguins in North America.

Mr. Sea was 2 months shy of turning 32. Due to his advanced age keepers were paying close attention to his condition and they noticed a decline in his activity levels and appetite in recent weeks.

The median life expectancy (excluding first year mortality) for Humboldt penguins is 17.6 years for both males and females.

“Mr. Sea was a special penguin because of his social personality and was a favorite of our staff and volunteers,” said Mark Myers, bird curator at Woodland Park Zoo. He really enjoyed his daily interactions with keepers and especially liked the extra attention he received during his physical rehabilitation sessions. He will be missed.”

penguin passing woodland park zoo

Mr. Sea is given treatment for an aged related illness

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Mr. Sea had called Woodland Park Zoo his home for eleven years. During his life he had fathered nine chicks and he leaves behind a total of twelve grandchicks, great-grandchicks and great-great grandchicks.

In late 2015, staff began closely monitoring Mr. Sea’s quality of life. “At that time, we noticed geriatric-related changes in his mobility and activity patterns. He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and prescribed a program of pain medications and physical rehabilitation that included laser therapy, massage and acupuncture,” said Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at Woodland Park Zoo. “Through our geriatric care program, we were able to maintain an acceptable quality of life for Mr. Sea for many years.”

This care is leading animals in human care to live longer. “Improved husbandry and management techniques, geriatric care, enhanced species-specific nutritional plans, medical breakthroughs, diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, and comprehensive enrichment programs have contributed to extending the life expectancies of animals in zoos,” explained Collins.

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To help improve these outcomes further zoo vets will perform a necropsy on Mr. Sea. This will determine factors which lead to his health decline. “Results will be shared nationally among scientific colleagues to help advance the understanding of medical issues in penguins,” said Collins.

It will be several weeks before animal care staff have a full picture of what lead to Mr. Seas decline as they await the results of pathology tests.

Humboldt penguins are a vulnerable species. Unlike the typical image of a penguin playing on the ice they come from hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile. Around 32,000 of these birds are thought to remain in the wild.

penguin passing woodland park zoo

Mr. Sea is given treatment for an aged related illness

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Learn more about humboldt penguins – Humboldt Penguin | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Woodland Park Zoo on their website – Woodland Park Zoo

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