Monday 5 December 2016

Penguin thrives despite losing eye

Published 15/04/2011 | 12:12

Mrs T, a macaroni penguin at Torquay's Living Coasts zoo, is coping with the loss of sight in her left eye following an infection
Mrs T, a macaroni penguin at Torquay's Living Coasts zoo, is coping with the loss of sight in her left eye following an infection

A penguin is thriving despite the loss of an eye.

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And there are hopes that Mrs T - a female macaroni penguin - will breed in the near future with her partner Mr T.

The penguin, who lives at the Living Coasts zoo in Torquay, Devon, lost the sight in her left eye after failing to respond to treatment for a deep ulcer in the cornea.

A special medical tissue glue was applied, but infection set in and animal experts had to move quickly to save the bird.

Zoo vet Sarah Chapman said: "The eye became infected, the penguin was very subdued due to discomfort so we opted to remove the source of pain. Once eyes get infected they are very difficult to treat, as very few drugs given by mouth penetrate the eye tissue and eye drops are very short-lasting and would have taken a very long time to work, if at all."

The delicate specialist operation to remove the eye was performed at South Devon Referrals by veterinary specialist ophthalmologist Jim Carter and fellow vet Ian Sayers.

Mrs T recuperated at Paignton Zoo's vet centre before returning to Living Coasts.

The penguin, which hatched at Twycross Zoo in 1992, has built nests before and laid a first, infertile, egg in 2009, but has yet to hatch a chick. She is described as a very laid-back penguin with good manners. She is very calm when handled by staff and very close to her mate Mr T.

Living Coasts director Elaine Hayes said: "She ran out of her crate to be re-united with Mr T, which was very moving.

"She has had to learn how to swim and feed with just one eye, and to deal with the crowds of other penguins and the occasional spot of aggression that goes along with life in a busy penguin colony. We are confident that she will settle back in and hope she will breed."

Press Association

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