We are very carefully considering whether we should try and exhibit them againDanny Reynolds, Exmoor Zoo “The protozoan pathogen cannot be easily identified in the blood of the penguins and dies very quickly so it cannot be seen with blood samples,” he said.”Unfortunately, all drugs given from pathological reports had no effect and it is now known that once the malaria is contracted even the anti-malarial drugs cannot help the infected bird but the drugs can stop other penguins from contracting the disease.”The problem for us was that our penguins were in summer moult, with skin exposed and typically do not feed well or regularly during this natural period of feather replacement which hid the symptoms.”Fond farewells have now been said to the colony of penguins – named Buster, Newquay, Ludo, Percy, Lemmy, Truddle, Owlie, Blossom, Friendly and Arthur. The zoo said it was considering whether to replace the birds and have a new penguin exhibition.Mr Reynolds added: “Exmoor Zoo has always had penguins on display and we are very carefully considering whether we should try and exhibit them again.”Avian malaria can be carried by all wild birds and, although is not infectious to people or wild birds, penguins have never had to build an immunity to it as they live on or near the sea where the insects that carry the disease do not occur.The Exmoor Zoo birds are not the first to contract the pathogen, with Flamingo Land in Yorkshire and Longleat in Wiltshire also having experienced the disease – a pathogen which lives in the blood of its hosts and is usually spread by mosquitoes or biting midges from the host bird. A zoo is considering giving up its penguin display after staff were left heartbroken at an outbreak of malaria that killed every bird.Exmoor Zoo in Devon said all 10 of the birds had died from a quick and devastating outbreak of avian malaria.There have been penguins at the zoo, near Bratton Fleming, since it opened in 1982, and some of the birds that died are the offspring of the original birds.Danny Reynolds, living collection manager at the zoo, said that despite the best efforts of vets and staff – some of whom had hand-reared the birds from birth – the outbreak could not be halted. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Heartbroken zoo might give up penguins for good after malaria outbreak kills
Last Updated on: September 25th, 2019 at 8:37 am, by