Penguins given rubber flip-flops to stop fatal foot infections while recovering in captivity

SIX penguins have got a pick-me-up of rubber flip-flops to stop fatal foot infections while recovering in captivity.

The birds, found stranded on beaches along Brazil’s southern coast, have the shoes strapped on with Velcro.

Conservation biologist Camila Domit said: “Since starting this experiment with the selected penguins we are already seeing positive results.

“They wear the slippers all the time so as not to come into contact with different types of surfaces that their feet are not used to.

“The shoes are only taken off when they enter water.

“The flip flops make the penguins feet more fluffy and softer during the period they are kept out of the water.”

Magellanic penguins migrate from their colonies in Argentina, Chile and the Malvinas Islands towards the Brazilian coast every year.

The birds are constantly in search of food and warmer waters.

Every year hundreds are found washed up on beaches, either dead or exhausted and dehydrated.

Dr Domit explained: “Some penguins arrive here extremely weak and demand more time to learn to eat and swim alone again.

“During this time they run the risk of developing footpad diseases such as ulcerative pododermatitis because they stay out of the water for long periods.”

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