Avian malaria kills 50 penguins at West Midlands zoo

Outbreak of avian malaria kills 50 penguins at a British zoo – almost three-quarters of its colony

  • Dudley Zoo – which previously had 69 Humboldt penguins – has lost 70% of its colony to the disease despite best efforts of vets
  • Avian malaria is caused by infected mosquitoes and changes in the weather
  • The West Midlands zoo had started out with just five hand-reared chicks in 1991 and went on to have one of the largest self-sustained colonies in UK

Keepers at a British zoo have been left heartbroken after an outbreak of avian malaria killed 50 penguins.

Dudley Zoo – which previously had 69 Humboldt penguins – has lost 70 per cent of its colony to the disease despite the best efforts of vets.

Avian malaria is caused by infected mosquitoes and changes in the weather.

Keepers at a British zoo have been left heartbroken after an outbreak of avian malaria killed 50 penguins. Dudley Zoo – which previously had 69 Humboldt penguins – has lost 70 per cent of its colony to the disease despite the best efforts of vets. (File image of penguins at the zoo)

Zoo director Derek Grove said: ‘We are all heartbroken with the huge loss in Penguin Bay and it’s been an especially distressing time for our bird team who have devoted years to their care.’

He added: ‘Their dedication and tireless efforts to care for our penguins over recent weeks has been exemplary.’

The West Midlands zoo had started out with just five hand-reared chicks in 1991 and went on to have one of the largest self-sustained colonies in the UK.

Zoo director Derek Grove said: ‘We are all heartbroken with the huge loss in Penguin Bay and it’s been an especially distressing time for our bird team who have devoted years to their care.’ (Stock image of the penguins at the zoo, in the West Midlands)

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