The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

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The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

Lucky the Boot-Footed Penguin

Araceli Rodriguez
Lucky the penguin.

A Humboldt penguin by the name of Lucky hatched on Apr. 15, 2010, at the Santa Barbara Zoo. After supervised care from local zookeepers, it was time for Lucky to take his first steps. However, the keepers became concerned after noticing a significant limp in Lucky’s right foot. The limp remained present whenever Lucky attempted to walk, hop, or swim.

In an attempt to investigate Lucky’s limp, x-rays revealed his foot was developing abnormally. If this abnormal growth was not maintained, the chronic sores that were appearing as a result would become infected, and eventually would prove fatal for Lucky. Santa Barbara Zoo was put under stress, trying to find a suitable and effective solution for the Humboldt penguin.

Santa Barbara Zoo sponsor, Teva, a footwear company that designs shoes for all kinds of outdoor activities, decided to take on Lucky’s challenge. After the initial evaluation of Lucky’s foot, the company began making prototype shoes for the penguin.

At first, Teva tried a hard boot designed to lock at a ninety-degree angle, but Lucky’s foot still couldn’t function properly or comfortably. They then decided to transition from a hard boot to a soft boot, altering the material in hopes of creating a better experience for Lucky. As soon as the switch was made to the soft boot, Lucky was able to walk like a normal penguin. The material used to create the boot was made to be sustainable in water, helping Lucky not only walk but swim and hop around.

However, over time Lucky’s foot condition continued to worsen, eventually leading to his right foot being safely amputated. Although the amputation seemed to be helpful for Lucky, it created new complications for the penguin. The complications began to significantly impact his daily life, and with a decision made by the zoo, Lucky was humanely euthanized May 20, 2020.

Today, Lucky’s legacy continues to live on at the Santa Barbara Zoo with his 6 year-old penguin son, Pepper, who still resides in the same colony that Lucky once did.

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About the Contributor
Araceli Rodriguez, Reporter
Araceli Rodriguez (10) sits with her guitar, letting the natural world around her flow through her playing. Araceli feels drawn to her music, and even plans to start a band with her friends. “Stay tuned,” she said. “See what happens in the music life.”
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