Penguins leaving Longleat after suspected Malaria outbreak

Penguins 2 (Credit Longleat Facebook)

Published by Ellie Harries at 6:01am 8th December 2018.

The whole colony of Humboldt penguins will leave the Wiltshire safari park in the new year.

Vets at Longleat have made the tough decision to re-locate the whole group to another place in 2019.

It's after several birds contracted 'Avian Malaria'.

A spokesperson for Longleat has explained what the disease is;

"Avian malaria is contracted through airborne mosquito's, and is particularly prevalent during the warm summer months.

"While the disease is fatal in many cases, some penguins do develop an immunity to it.

"Avian malaria is not transmissible to humans and poses no threat either to staff or the public.

"While avian malaria is sadly not uncommon among penguins in captivity or in the wild, we believe it is in our penguins' best interests to be moved to another location where the chances of contracting the disease will, we hope, be reduced."

In 2016, 24 Humboldt penguins died at the Wiltshire safari park from the disease - read more on that here at Spire FM News.

The Humboldt penguin is originally from South America, with the breed normally found around coastal areas of Peru and Chile.

Penguins 1 (Credit Longleat Facebook)
The penguins at Longleat in 2016

The breed is now officially listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The colony will stay in the Longleat Penguin Island during the winter months.

Their enclosure will remain open to visitors but the walk-through section of the enclosure will be closed to avoid any undue stress to the penguins.

"This is obviously a very sad time for all those involved but we strongly feel it is the right thing to do and, once the penguins have been re-homed to a suitable collection, we will look at alternative options for Penguin Island in 2019."

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Spire FM

© Copyright 2019 Spire FM, A UKRD group company