Over the last couple of months I have been blogging about the fate of an Emperor Penguin found stranded on North Island in New Zealand. A penguin hadn’t been seen on the shores of New Zealand for 44 years until ‘Happy Feet’ landed on Peka Peka beach, almost 3,000km from his home in Antarctica.
Conservationists became concerned for his welfare when the bird became lethargic, but after an operation to remove sand and sticks from his stomach the penguin recovered well on a diet of ‘fish milkshakes’. Wellington Zoo have now confirmed that plans are in place to ship Happy Feet back to subantarctic waters later this month on a scientific research vessel.
The ship, which will carry out research into Southern Ocean fisheries, will release the bird four days into the voyage near Campbell Island which is within the normal feeding range of Emperor penguins. He will be fitted with a satellite tracking device before he is released to enable the public and scientists to track his progress on the zoo’s website.
Having captured the hearts of New Zealanders and people across the world, everyone is hoping Happy Feet will swim home to his colony in Antarctica and there will be a happy ending to this story.
To plan a trip to Antarctica visit the Antarctica section of our website or phone our specialists on 01993 838615