Lost Penguin Moved to NZ Zoo

Health is suffering after 2K-mile trek from home
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2011 4:02 AM CDT
An Emperor penguin walks along Peka Peka Beach in New Zealand after it got lost while hunting for food. The bird was moved to a zoo after becoming lethargic.   (AP Photo/Richard Gill, Department of Conservation)
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(Newser) – Conservation officials in New Zealand have decided against letting nature take its course with a young Emperor penguin who turned up on a beach 2,000 miles from his Antarctic home. The penguin—nicknamed "Happy Feet"—was moved to a zoo in Wellington after his health appeared to take a turn for the worse and it became lethargic, reports the AP. The bird had been eating sand, which it apparently mistook for snow, and, more puzzlingly, sticks of driftwood.

The penguin, the first of its kind seen in New Zealand for 44 years, was moved into a chilled container on the back of a truck for the 40-mile journey to the zoo, where experts are considering putting on an IV drip to nurse it back to health before releasing it back into the wild. There are no facilities in New Zealand designed to house an Emperor penguin long-term, and the lack of transport at this time of year makes returning it to Antarctica unfeasible.

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