The Decline of the African Penguin. With hands that have been pecked many times over, Bird Rehabilitator Selena Flores of the United States carefully examines an African Penguin, checking its feathers for oil and impermeability at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)'s rehabilitation center in Cape Town, South Africa. The African Penguin is critically endangered and hurtling toward extinction. The population declined 95 percent from the turn of the 20th century and a recent crash reduced their numbers from around 60,000 breeding pairs in 2000 to 25,000 pairs and dropping today. They face traditional threats from other land and sea animals, but human habitat encroachment and severe overfishing has led to unsustainable conditions for the species. Despite the efforts of many organizations that exist to conserve their existence and being beloved mascots and a popular tourist draw in Southern Africa where they are found, they face extinction much sooner than later.
Dillon's Trial. Dillon Papier takes his nightly bath. Dillon, 11, has Niemann–Pick type C, a degenerative, rare and ultimately fatal disease. In spite of this, and despite the physical and developmental setbacks that came with the disease, his parents strive to provide him with a normal childhood that revolves around school, playdates and family outings when Dillon is not in the hospital. He is currently enrolled in a clinical drug trial at the National Institutes of Health, the second such trial this year. The first, involving a special reservoir implanted in his brain, had to be ended when Dillon and other patients developed infections. The new trial involves a lumbar injection of the drug Cyclodextrin.
Dillon's Trial. A neurosurgeon maps Dillon Papier's brain in advance of the procedure to place an Ommaya reservoir into his brain, allowing for direct injection of the clinical trial drug Cyclodextrin. This particular trial had to be ended after Dillon and other patients developed dangerous infections.