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To learn more, visit Bose.com. This is Lee Habeeb and this is Our American Stories and we tell stories about everything on this show and we love your stories. Send them to OurAmericanStories.com.
They're some of our favorites. Today, you're going to hear from Maria Elden. Maria is the zoological manager of birds, the St. Louis Zoo. She'll be speaking on behalf of Enrique, a 30-year-old penguin with arthritis who just so happens to wear shoes. Enrique is a southern rockhopper penguin and he is an elderly bird. He's about 30 years old. Penguins tend to live about 15 years old.
Penguins that live in zoos live a very cushy life. He's just a gentle bird. He is really easygoing.
That's unlike rockhoppers a little bit. Rockhoppers are very vivacious, very in your face, but Enrique kind of has a softer side to him. He is quite the handsome little bird. He's got a girlfriend and apparently as we found out this morning, another female liked what she saw.
So this morning he had two girlfriends. Enrique came to St. Louis Zoo in 2016 and he prior to that had lived at Omaha Zoo. Zoos talk to each other a lot and before any zoo receives any animal, there is a lot of communication. What does the animal like?
What does it not like? Behaviors that are good and maybe some that are not so good and the veterinarians also receive a lot of information about medical history. He had signs of arthritis already at that point and so there was no surprise. We didn't just open a box of penguins and see that one wasn't feeling well. We knew what we were getting and we were prepared and that's super important. With arthritis, you notice that they're slowing down a little bit, maybe not coming up for food just as fast.
Maybe wait for some of the more spry neighbors to run up to the food first and our keepers are really well versed in not only general bird behavior but we hone in on the individuals too. So when one is feeling off a little bit, we know right away. Enrique is an active swimmer and that's great but we couldn't have any topical creams that alleviate some of the arthritic pain.
They will kind of rinse away so thinking outside the box can help us. I think animal people are a special group of people where very few things surprise us because we have to think outside of the box so often. With humans, an arm is an arm and a leg is a leg but with animals, there's so much variation. Our veterinary team, who are really great at coming up with all sorts of ideas, found a company that makes little shoes for working dogs and dogs that just need additional help after injuries.
So our vets were able to connect with that company. We were able to trace Enrique's feet and get measurements and the amazing people who can sew very well made the shoes for him. The first time we put them on, he kind of looked at his feet and looked at us and then took off running. What the shoes do is just to protect his feet and give a little bit of extra padding for him. The original pair that was sent, we found that he just needed a little bit more cushion and it needed to give a little bit more grip. With rockhopper penguins, their feet are very important. They grip the rock as they're climbing up but because we just put shoes on him, he couldn't quite grip. So we ended up receiving a second pair of shoes.
Now this pair of shoes was hot pink on the bottom as opposed to the first set of shoes which was all black but no one cared. A few just kind of looked, some kind of tried to come over and check it out but he would just tell him no. He is very vocal and he bites. So once everyone figured out like he's not going to let you mess with his shoes, he was he was good, he was golden. It has become such a routine for him that he really doesn't mind and it makes little difference to his mate.
So we do put him on at about 10 o'clock in the morning and take them off at about three. His mate Paris, she just sees him go up and he comes back and she's like okay this is great. Sometimes you'll see him with his wing over her which is very cute. It is nice that he does get some time to just be a penguin.
We really take his behavior into account. We do know that it does provide him with some comfort just based on the way that he stands. We keep track on a weekly basis to make sure is he eating is he getting around and what we have seen is that he does swim with the boots on too and that's an important factor for penguins. Penguins should swim and he does still swim.
He is still social with his mate. They preen each other all the time and as long as he is doing those things and having a good appetite we know that he is comfortable and since we have tried this out our veterinarians have been in contact with a few other zoos who asked us how it went and they considered it for some of their penguins. So the shoes are spreading. There are a few other penguins that are getting some relief too. The opportunities to enrich the lives of our animals are endless and it really takes a lot of innovation and collaboration and to continue to provide the best care for these animals.
It is great that the story is getting out about Enrique and his shoes but it is also such a minor thing for us. You know we made him comfortable and that was our job. There are so many other things that we do for animals that maybe are just not quite as visible but also have a big impact and I just hope that the story helps the guests that visit St. Louis Zoo see the dedication that we put into the care for all of our animals. And beautiful production work by Madison on the piece and a special thanks to Maria Elden who is the zoological manager of birds at the St. Louis Zoo and it is a world-class zoo. I spent many summers in my life in St. Louis and that was always one of my favorite days and I don't know many kids or adults who don't love just visiting a zoo.
If you get to St. Louis by all means visit this terrific zoo. What a thing that Maria just said we made him comfortable. That's our job.
Indeed it is crafting a special pair of shoes for a 30-year-old arthritic penguin named Enrique. That story here on Our American Stories. Folks if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country please make a donation. A monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our americanstories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.
That's our americanstories.com. Big news Paris Hilton fans your fave pop culture icon created her very own 3D interactive world and she's inviting you to visit. Starting November 11th transport yourself to Paris Hilton's Sliving Land.
A place full of magic fun and surprises. Create an avatar, hunt for hidden treasure, unlock adorable digital outfits, even say hi to Paris herself. It's totally free. Everyone is welcome. Sign up today so you can jump right in when Paris's Sliving Land goes live on Friday November 11th. Visit Paris.World.co today. Share your team on live at the FIFA World Cup 2022 final in Qatar. Frito-Lay is giving you the chance to win two tickets by joining their Pass the Ball Challenge. Look for the Golden World Soccer Ball then find friends and score daily entries every time you pass the ball.
Scan the QR code on specially marked bags of Lay's, Cheetos or Doritos or visit Frito-LayScore.com. When the world gets in the way of your music try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you. Delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Sound shape to you. To learn more visit Bose.com.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-09 08:38:54 / 2022-11-09 08:41:31 / 3