Avian malaria kills penguins

Published: Sunday 15 July 2007

Never heard of mosquitoes Avian malaria killed two rare Humboldt penguins at the Sedgwick County Zoo in the us. Pathology tests on the penguins confirmed the cause of death, which occurred just days after the new exhibit opened.

Penguins are particularly susceptible to the disease because historically they have not been exposed to malaria, say zoo officials. The disease developed rapidly and the birds succumbed to it even before the zoo veterinarians could notice their symptoms and begin treating them.

The zoo officials now fear that of the remaining 15 inhabitants of Cessna Penguin Cove, some birds can be carriers of avian malaria, without being affected by it. All the birds are now being administered daily preventive medicine. The current status of Humboldt, a South American penguin, is vulnerable, due to a declining population caused in part by overfishing.

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