Detroit Zoo Penguins Get Early Christmas Gift from Southfield Veterinarian


As construction continues on the Detroit Zoo’s $26-million Polk Penguin Conservation Center, two of the facility’s future residents received  their own “upgrades” before the big move to the facility in late 2015.

On Wednesday, a 26-year-old macaroni female penguin named Needles, and a 30-year-old female rockhopper penguin named Bugs, underwent cataract surgery at BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospital for animals in Southfield.

“The benefit of this surgery is that Bugs and Needles will now have a better quality of life as they’ll be able to see much more clearly,” says Dr. Gwen Sila, the veterinary ophthalmologist who performed the surgeries. “That will be important to help them acclimate to their new surroundings when they are moved to their new exhibit in the future.”

BluePearl doctors first identified the cataracts during a previous examination and provided the surgery at no charge, while a grant from the zoo paid for the medical supplies.

The Detroit Zoo broke ground in May on the $26 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center that will be located on 2.1 acres near the zoo’s entrance.