Penguin found 1,000 miles from home
The penguin was found by hikers Sunday and is now being cared for at the Wellington Zoo. Staff say it remains in a critical condition, emaciated and suffering from kidney failure. But it has made small improvements each day.
The penguin's arrival has revived memories of another penguin, an emperor nicknamed Happy Feet, that arrived in 2011 and whose recovery at the zoo captured the hearts of many before he was released.
Royal penguins have a yellow crest, eat krill and squid and generally live on and around Macquarie Island, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. Just four have been recorded landing on the North Island over the past 100 years.
Jenny Boyne, who lives near Tora Beach where the penguin was found, said she drove it to the zoo in a fish crate after staff suggested she bring it in.
"It sat down like a little quiet lamb," she said.
The bird stood up briefly a couple of times and honked but generally lay still for the two-hour journey, she said. She blasted the air conditioning and spritzed the bird with water after zoo staff instructed her to keep it cool. She said she was surprised it had no significant smell.
The penguin is about 1 year old, and 20 inches long.
"These penguins tend to stay out at sea," said Lisa Argilla, the veterinary science manager at the zoo. "This guy's probably been following food, and he might have caught a current. There's obviously not enough food out there — either he didn't know where to look, or the warm weather might be causing a shift in the food supply."
Some people have nicknamed the penguin Happy Feet Jr.
Critical thinking challenge: Why did this penguin wander off and get lost?
- Posted on February 21, 2013
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