Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

One-year-old penguin at Pittsburgh Zoo had 'amazing’ recovery after wing amputation

Floppy the penguin, 1, successfully underwent a wing amputation in September 2021.
Paul A Selvaggio
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Floppy the penguin, who is one year old, successfully underwent a wing amputation in September 2021.

A one-year-old penguin at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium recently made animal medical history.

Floppy, who was named at birth, became the first member of his species to get a wing successfully amputated, according to the zoo. He underwent surgery in September.

According to the zoo, aquarists “noticed some swelling near the young penguin’s shoulder” in August 2021, and an X-ray confirmed the gentoo penguin had broken a wing bone.

“The break wasn’t healing, so our animal care staff made the tough decision to amputate,” said Ian Hunter, public relations and media manager with the zoo.

After his Sept. 8 surgery, zoo staff helped Floppy re-learn “how to swim, dive, float, navigate his habitat, and exit the water.” A small ramp was installed in his habitat for additional assistance. Now, Hunter says Floppy is back in his colony.

“He is doing amazing! He is swimming and exiting the water very well,” Hunter said. “Everyone is very excited about how he is progressing.”

Floppy, who was born at the zoo, reentered the black and gold colony “very smoothly.”

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.