10/21/2013 05:32 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2013

Fluffy The Penguin Gets The World's First Penguin MRI

We don't know how else to put it: you aren't ever likely to get a more charming look inside a penguin's brain than this.

Fluffy is an African black-footed penguin who was having a hard time doing normal penguin things, like "balancing, standing and waddling around," according to a media release put out by the University of Minnesota, which received the 18-year-old bird in late July.

After conducting a battery of inconclusive tests, veterinarians decided to give Fluffy a brain scan -- the first penguin MRI that vet Micky Trent had ever come across. "So this was a first," Trent says in this video -- which, happy spoiler, ends with the adorable Fluffy receiving antibiotics, regaining his balance, and going off to eat more fish with his buddy named BJ. In the middle, which is also exciting, you'll get to see an image of the penguin's brain:

African black-footed penguins, also known as African penguins or jackass penguins (here's a video of them braying like donkeys), are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. The population's sharp decline -- about 60.5 percent in 28 years, according to the IUCN -- is attributed to a reduction in the penguins' food supply due to commercial fishing.

Earlier this year, the Minnesota Zoo hatched a baby African black-footer who's being raised by penguin foster parents, after its natural parents failed to incubate properly. You can find these animals at other zoos around the country -- the Maryland Zoo claims the largest captive population of black-footed penguins in North America -- on this delightful webcam, or in the wild on two dozen islands along the southern African coast.

We asked U of M spokesperson Miranda Taylor where Fluffy lives when he's not undergoing medical treatment, in case readers wanted to visit, or to send flowers (or fish), but it turns out that the inside of Fluffy's head is more readily accessible than the rest of him.

"I'd love to share, but Fluffy's caretaker has expressed a preference to not be named," Taylor said. "So sorry I can't be more helpful!"



The World's Most Threatened Species