A 40-year old African penguin is returning home a southern Colorado zoo after undergoing treatment for skin cancer. Tess, who resides at the Pueblo Zoo, is the oldest penguin of her kind, according to officials at the zoo. She was treated for sarcoma at the Colorado State University veterinary hospital in early December. After two weeks of isolation, she was welcomed home to the zoo, where she was reunited with her mate, Mongo, and the rest of her friends in the habitat.
African penguins rarely live past 20 years, and experts at the Pueblo Zoo say that the breed has declined 90 percent in the last 100 years. “Some people would ask, ‘why are you putting all of these resources into an individual animal?’ But, if this individual animal can tell a story that helps globally with the African penguin, then it’s all worth it,” said Dr. Matthew Johnston, a veterinarian at Colorado State University. “If we can make people aware of these endangered species, with awareness comes action, and with action comes change. And, ultimately, we help.”