Needles and Bugs won’t have any trouble diving or waddling when the Detroit Zoo opens the Polk Penguin Conservation Center in late 2015.
The two aquatic birds had cataract surgery performed on both eyes Wednesday at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Southfield, Mich.
Needles, a 26-year-old female macaroni penguin, and Bugs, a 30-year-old female rockhopper penguin, were diagnosed with cataracts during a previous examination performed by BluePearl doctors, the Tampa, Fla., hospital chain reported.
Gwen Sila, DVM, Dipl. ACVO, performed both surgeries.
“Bugs and Needles will now have a better quality of life as they’ll be able to see much more clearly,” Dr. Sila said. “That will be important to help them acclimate to their new surroundings when they are moved to their new exhibit in the future.”
Sila and BluePearl donated the time and services. A zoo grant paid for supplies, according to BluePearl.
Ground was broken in June on the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Once completed, the $29.5 million, 33,000-square-foot exhibit will feature a 25-foot-deep pool where zoo visitors standing above or below can watch penguins dive deep.
The penguin pen is expected to house about 80 individuals representing four species: rockhopper, macaroni, king and gentoo.