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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A penguin called Lucky and his special shoe

The internet has been filled with stories in the past week about a penguin from Santa Barbara Zoo who suffers from an impaired foot.

The young Humboldt penguin named Lucky was born with a leg that was not growing properly, causing sores to develop where pressure was put on the wrong parts of his foot. These sores could have turned into a life-threatening condition if a solution was not found.

X-rays showed that Lucky's bones were not broken and while penguins normally walk on their toes, the condition caused him to walk on an unpadded area of his foot. Zoo veterinarians wrapped his foot and padded the ankle area to compensate but it meant that Lucky could not swim as the wrapping would become very wet and heavy.

So the idea for a protective shoe was hatched when Santa Barbara Zoo CEO, Rich Block, recalled that Teva® had developed a special shoe for an elephant with foot issues at San Antonio Zoo. With Teva's headquarters only a few miles away it was worth enquiring to see if they could make a little penguin shoe suitable for Lucky.

With Teva's historic background in developing footwear for water adventures they instantly took on the challenge. Due to the language barrier, several versions were required but Lucky made it easy for Teva® as what worked and what did not. With each new version the boot was adapted until Lucky was happy with the finished product, and here is the result:

The Teva® penguin shoe

Teva's penguin shoe as worn by Lucky
Using different materials the shoe is designed to be lightweight, have superb traction to get out of the water as well as the ability to shed water. To do this, Teva® applied our ion-mask™ technology to Lucky's shoe making it completely hydrophobic enabling him to swim as freely as he likes. The shoes are also changed daily so Lucky always has a fresh pair for the start of each day.

Lucky modeling his new shoe
It really is a great story with a life-saving outcome and you can watch Lucky's story and how Teva® got involved in the video below:



Furthermore, in the fall this year, UK children's book author and illustrator, Sarah Aspinall, is writing all about Lucky in a book with the proceeds from sales being used to support Lucky and the other Humboldt penguins at Santa Barbara zoo.

Sneak peak of the cover
If you would like to know more about Lucky's species, the Humboldt penguins, you can here.

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