Stranded Emperor Penguin In New Zealand Faces A Tough Struggle

Jun 24, 2011

An emperor penguin that took a wrong turn and ended up 2,000 miles from home in New Zealand is facing a grim future. After experts saw that Happy Feet — as the penguin has been nicknamed — wasn't moving very much, they moved it from Peka Peka beach to the Wellington Zoo.

As we've reported, Happy Feet is the first emperor penguin spotted in New Zealand since 1967. The New Zealand Herald reports that X-rays taken at the zoo revealed the penguin had a belly full of sand and that it was badly dehydrated. The paper talked to Wellington Zoo vet science manager Lisa Argilla:

"Normally these guys eat snow, and that rehydrates them. That's why he's been eating sand, because he doesn't know any better," [she said.]


Ms Argilla said it was too early to estimate the penguin's chances of survival, but it would be "amazing" if it pulled through.

"They can tolerate a fair amount of punishment, but it is a lot of sand that he's got in his intestines at the moment."

The zoo has Happy Feet on an intravenous drip. If the little guy makes it, said Argilla, the best they could do is release it as close to its home in Antartica as a plane or boat could get during winter.

Here's the AP's video report:

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