Ludwig, a 12-year-old Magellanic penguin at the Aquarium of the Pacific died Tuesday, officials announced.
Two days prior to his death, Ludwig was lethargic and did not have an appetite, aquarium officials said. He was under close watch and care by the facility’s veterinary and animal husbandry teams and testing indicated he was infected with avian malaria.
The penguin, which was hatched at another facility before coming to Long Beach in 2012, was receiving anti-malaria medication and supportive care in a behind-the-scenes area of the aquarium until his death.
“Ludwig was a shy penguin, but once he connected with staff he was endearing,” Brett Long, senior director of mammals and birds at the aquarium, said in a statement.
Ludwig is the second of the aquarium’s Magellanic penguins to die in less than a month. On Aug. 16, 7-year-old Fisher also died of avian malaria.
Avian malaria is a serious disease in penguins and is transmitted through mosquitoes, according to aquarium officials. The illness cannot be transferred between birds or to people.
All Aquarium of the Pacific penguins receive preventative malaria medicine year-round, officials said, but breakthrough cases can occur during the time of year when they lose their feathers. It takes two to five weeks for new feathers to grow in.
Magellanic penguins are native to the coasts of South America, including Chile, Argentina and Peru. In the wild, on average, they live between 10 and 20 years.