Notorious penguin Harry survives infection 

Fans of The City’s most famous penguins can breathe easy: Harry, who was struck by a life-threatening respiratory infection late last year, has convalesced enough to return home.

In December, Harry became ill with aspergillosis, a serious fungal infection that can be fatal for penguins. He and his partner, Linda, were moved from their island home at the San Francisco Zoo’s Magellanic penguin exhibit to the Avian Conservation Center, where Harry was tended to by veterinary staff and treated for the infection.

Harry gained international notoriety last summer when he left his longtime same-sex partner, Pepper, for recently widowed female Linda. Harry and Pepper had previously been one of the zoo’s devoted and stable avian partnerships, but after Harry left Pepper, the drama erupted into violence and the three penguins had to be separated.

In December, Harry and Pepper made Time magazine’s top 10 breakups of 2009.

It was around that time that zookeepers noticed Harry coughing, acting lethargic and refusing to eat.

In recent weeks, Harry has recuperated to the point where he is behaving like a normal, happy penguin, so he returned to the penguin colony, zookeeper Anthony Brown said. He said Harry still has the fungal infection, but it’s under enough control that it’s not impeding his life.

"We’re always trying not to be too anthropomorphic, but all the ways we can tell a penguin is happy, he’s been doing," Brown said. "For the past couple days, he’s been pushing other penguins out of the way for food and had a couple little squabbles for random penguin reasons. He seems to be happy."

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Katie Worth

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