Penguin adapting to life with one wing at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

PITTSBURGH — A penguin at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is adjusting to life with one wing after the other needed to be amputated.

The 1-year-old gentoo penguin named Floppy had its wing amputated in a procedure that took place in September 2021, zoo officials said. His recovery is “progressing well.”

Floppy is the only known penguin with an amputated wing at a zoo or aquarium in the United States, according to the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Zoo officials said aquarists at the PPG Aquarium noticed swelling near Floppy’s shoulder in August 2021. An X-ray revealed he had a broken wing bone. After several weeks of care and monitoring the wing for signs of natural healing, it was decided after consulting with other institutions that surgical repair was not possible and amputation was best.

“While amputation was the best option for Floppy, he had to re-learn how to swim, dive, float, navigate his habitat and exit the water,” a news release from the zoo said. “The Animal Care team has closely monitored his progress and has been pleased every step of the way. He is able to perform most activities fairly well, and the staff of the PPG Aquarium has installed a ramp so that he can better enter and exit the water.”

Floppy was reintroduced to the penguin colony in late 2021. He can often be seen publicly in his habitat as he continues toward a full recovery, zoo officials said.