Sponsors of Dudley Zoo penguins that died in malaria crisis react to sad news

As Dudley Zoo reels from the news that dozens of its penguins died of avian malaria, visitors who sponsored the cute birds have spoken of their sorrow.

Dudley Zoo's penguins
Dudley Zoo's penguins

It emerged last week that about 50 of the zoo's 69 Humboldt penguins had died after an outbreak of the disease despite the best efforts of staff.

People who had signed up to adopt penguins and looked forward to receiving updates about the animals have shared their sadness at the news.

Tina Birt said: "My mother-in-law got the letter earlier this week and was heartbroken. She has adopted a penguin for 18 years and has visited the zoo every year to see him. The letter explained what had happened and that they wanted the adopters to know first. The letter said a number of penguins had died and they were trying to save the others. It didn't specifically mention the penguin she adopted."

Maxene Walker said: "We bought the penguin adoption for my nephew's 11th birthday back in June as he adores these animals.

"He brought the letter to show me explaining that sadly the penguin he had adopted along with a few others had sadly passed away due to avian malaria. He was saddened by this news but thankful that the zoo had been in contact. He hopes he will be able to one day soon adopt another penguin."

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