Shoe Company Fits Penguin with Life-Saving Sole

PetMD Editorial
Updated: June 14, 2018
Published: May 18, 2011
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Teva, an adventure-footwear company, celebrates after fitting a Santa Barbara Zoo penguin with a custom shoe to compensate for his impaired foot.

"Lucky," a Humboldt penguin, first appeared healthy when he hatched in a nesting box at the Santa Barbara Zoo exhibit in April. But soon after the zoo’s penguin handlers set him down, they noticed Lucky was walking with a limp and not swimming well.

Further testing by the zoo’s veterinarians revealed that the young penguin’s leg was not developing normally. And though they tried everything to correct Lucky’s leg impairment including splints, nothing seemed to work.

The Santa Barbara Zoo became even more concerned when they noticed Lucky was putting pressure on the wrong parts of his foot when he hopped, to compensate for his leg impairment. Lucky began to develop sores, which the zoo’s team kept treating, curing and wrapping.

The Santa Barbara Zoo’s keepers and veterinarians worried the sores would fester and become life threatening to the penguin chick. Just when all other options were exhausted, they contacted Teva. Located nearby, the shoe company immediately “hopped to it” and came to the penguin chick’s rescue.

Teva's team measured Lucky’s foot and designed a waterproof, aquatic shoe. What’s more, they have committed to making Lucky’s shoe for his whole life.

"Teva is an expert at creating shoes for use in, on and around the water, which is just what our little penguin needed," said Santa Barbara Zoo CEO Rich Block. "The penguin isn't the only one who is lucky – the Zoo is fortunate to have such terrific community partners."

Watch Lucky sporting his new shoe below.

Image: Sheri Horiszny / Courtesy of Teva

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