Entire penguin population at Exmoor Zoo wiped out by malaria

A zoo is in mourning after all of its penguins were killed by an outbreak of malaria in just nine days.

Exmoor Zoo in Devon said it was "devastated" after an outbreak of avian malaria wiped out the 10-strong waddle two weeks ago.

Penguins have resided at the zoo, near Bratton Fleming, since 1982. Some of the penguins were offspring of the original residents.

Danny Reynolds, living collection manager at the zoo, said that despite the best efforts of vets and staff - some of whom had hand-reared the birds from birth - the outbreak could not be halted.

Exmoor Zoo announced the penguins to have died were called Buster, Newquay, Ludo, Percy, Lemmy, Truddle, Owlie, Blossom, Friendly and Arthur.

The zoo said it was considering whether to replace the birds and have a new penguin exhibition.

Avian malaria can be carried by all wild birds and, although is not infectious to people or wild birds, penguins have never had to build an immunity to it as they live on or near the sea where the insects that carry the disease do not occur.

In the past, Flamingo Land in Yorkshire and Longleat in Wiltshire have battled outbreaks of the disease.