08 January 2012

Lazy little penguins get exercise regime

NEW ZEALAND - Little penguins rescued from the Rena oil spill are being made to swim to stop them getting pressure sores on their poor feet.

The Bay of Plenty Times reported that the new exercise regime came about because the birds are spending their time sunning themselves rather than swimming, and the uncommonly small amount of time they're spending in the water is giving them pressure sores on the soles of their feet.

"They don't have to [hunt] here, there's no drive for them to get out there and swim. They're just sunbathing,'' oiled wildlife centre chief Brett Gartrell said.

"[So now] they're having enforced swimming for three hours a day. That takes all the pressure off their feet.''

Sadly, two penguins had to be euthanased after their pressure sores became infected.

The new exercise regime should improve the health of the remaining penguins.

Dr Gartrell said, "We're confident the changes we are making is enough to keep them [the sores] under control. It's going to delay some birds' release but it's not going to stop them going out." 

Penguins fall into bad habits by Sam Boyer, 1 December 2011, Bay of Plenty Times

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