Halloween Shoe for Lucky Penguin

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Santa Barbara Zoo penguin - lg

Orange and Black Shoes with Spooky Take on Teva Logo

Halloween Shoe for Lucky Penguin

Nov 1, 2011

(Santa Barbara, CA, October 31, 2011) – Lucky’s got new shoes - just in time for Halloween and the holiday season.

Lucky, a Humboldt penguin with an impaired foot, made headlines across the country last spring when he went on exhibit at the Santa Barbara Zoo wearing a custom-made shoe on his right foot, made by adventure shoe company Teva®.

Sporting orange and black color schemes, his new shoes also feature a spooky Jack o’ Lantern face inside Teva’s distinctive “hand” logo.

“We couldn’t be happier to watch as Lucky adjusts to his healthier and happier life with his new shoe,” said Teva’s PR Manager Jaime Eschette. “It’s only fitting to celebrate with his first Halloween shoe to get him in the spirit for the holidays.” Eschette reports that Thanksgiving and other holiday shoes are also on the drawing board at Teva.

“These shoes may have saved Lucky’s life,” said Zoo CEO Rich Block. “Now he can jump and swim like any other penguin, albeit a very stylish one. He’s become a favorite of our guests and our staff.”

Lucky’s Challenge

Lucky hatched on exhibit in a nesting box (or burrow) on April 15, 2010 and was examined by the Zoo’s veterinarian and appeared normal and healthy at that time. But as he grew and began to walk, Lucky exhibited a shuffling gait.

Lucky was examined and x-rayed. Though no bones were broken, the young chick’s leg was not developing normally. Treatments, including splints, were tried, but nothing corrected his leg. He began to develop sores from putting pressure on the wrong parts of his foot, which led to infections. Repeated infections could prove to be fatal for the young penguin.

Keepers contacted local company Teva, which specializes in creating shoes for use in, on and around the water. Their design team responded immediately. Not only did the shoe have to cushion Lucky’s foot, it had to be lightweight, provide traction, and easily shed water. Above all, it had to be comfortable. The Teva team worked with their suppliers, and the final shoe features technologies found within their footwear collection. Ion-maskTM helps Lucky’s foot stay dry, as it makes the shoe completely hydrophobic, and Spider Rubber + JStep ensures that he won’t lose his footing as he’s going in and out of the water.

Teva has committed to providing shoes for Lucky for his entire lifespan. The shoes are changed daily so they can be washed.

Threatened Species

Humboldt penguins are threatened in their native habitat along the Pacific Coast of South America from Peru to Chile, where their populations are in serious decline. The Zoo opened the Crawford Family Penguin House in June 2006 and now houses 18 individuals.

Humboldt penguins are considered “vulnerable” – one step away from “endangered” – by the World Conservation Union, an international body of thousands of scientists who assess the status of the world’s plants and animals. The total world population of Humboldt penguins is around 12,000 breeding pairs and is currently in serious decline. The causes include over-fishing of their food supply, entanglement in fishing nets, commercial removal of the guano they use for burrows, and predation. There are worries that the species could become extinct within decades.

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