Another sick penguin dies at Calgary Zoo
Other penguins being treated for deadly fungal infection
The Calgary Zoo had to euthanize a 14-year-old male Gentoo penguin on Sunday.
Houdini had been sick for a month with aspergillosis, a fungal infection that affects the respiratory system.
The disease is one of the most common causes of death in both captive and wild penguins.
Calgary Zoo says it's concerned the June flooding and high levels of dampness increased the risk factors for the disease.
Officials are also exploring the possibility the zoo may have an aspergillosis species that's resistant to anti-fungal drugs used to treat the disease.
Out of the seven penguin deaths in the past year, one of the zoo's Humboldt penguins was confirmed to have died from aspergillosis in October as well as a King penguin in February.
"Aspergillosis is fungal organism," said Sandy Black, the zoo's lead veterinarian. "We know from human medicine that fungal pneumonias are the worst or most difficult type of pneumonia to deal with, so he actually had fungal growth in his air sacs as well as his lungs."
She says they are still treating other penguins for the same thing.
"We have seven that are on our watch carefully list and are still on treatment," said Black. "The other birds went through a full month of treatment and are now off that treatment."
Penguins have an average life span of roughly 20 years.
- December 2012: Gentoo penguin Fiona died after swallowing a stick.
- February 2013: King penguin Asa died from aspergillosis — a fungal infection.
- August 2013: Humboldt penguin Juntos died from suspected avian malaria (test results pending).
- August 2013: Humboldt penguin Guillermo died from suspected avian malaria (test results pending).
- October 2013: Humboldt penguin Eduardo died from aspergillosis — a fungal infection.
- October 2013: Gentoo penguin Akemi died of heart failure after getting avian malaria.
- November 2013: Gentoo penguin Houdini died from aspergillosis — a fungal infection.