Lost Penguin Released From New Zealand Veterinarians

Published: August 31, 2021

Veterinarians in New Zealand who have been treating a penguin that got lost have released it back into the waters.

The penguin was determined to be about 3 and a half years old, weak, and emaciated, when found in mid June. Dubbed “Happy feet” by his caretakers he was found on a beach about 1,864 miles from home.

Initially, vets hoped the giant penguin would swim back to the Southern Ocean of his own accord. However, when he became ill after eating sand and sticks in a bid to cool down, it was obvious he would die without human intervention.

The penguin was rushed to Wellington Zoo’s animal hospital, where a top human surgeon performed an endoscopy to clear his gut.

They think he ate the sand thinking it was snow. Penguins will eat snow to stay hydrated. The zoo’s veterinary science manager Lisa Argilla said more than 120,000 people have asked how he was doing.

“Everyone’s been really curious to see what happens. It was touch-and-go there for a while but he’s doing really well now.” A webcam set up in his small, ice-filled room at the zoo attracted an online following of more than 120,000 people,” she said.

Now after being nursed back to health and fattened up with fish shakes, Happy Feet is ready to go home. A fisheries survey vessel will make a four day sail out to sea to set the Penguin free. He was also fitted with a tracking device to monitor his travels.

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