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Famous Penguin At South Coast Zoo Dies

(Santa Barbara Zoo photo)
Lucky the penguin (right) with his mate Nica

One of a South Coast Zoo’s most famous animal ambassadors has died.

The Santa Barbara Zoo reports that Lucky, one of the zoo’s popular penguins had to be euthanized. The Humboldt penguin had a degenerative foot condition. 

Lucky was born with an abnormal foot bone which made it difficult for him to walk.

An operation wasn’t deemed to be a possibility. Workers at the locally based shoe company Teva heard about the problem, and designed custom shoes which allowed Lucky to walk normally. In 2018, worsening problems with the foot forced its amputation.

More recently, health complications impacted his quality of life. That led to the decision to euthanize the 10-year-old penguin.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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