120K Following Penguin Via Webcam

Happy Feet doing well, to be released soon
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 4, 2011 12:47 PM CDT
In this June 29, 2011 file photo, an Antarctic penguin that wound up stranded on a New Zealand beach is prepared for an X-ray at Wellington Zoo in Wellington, New Zealand.   (Mark Mitchell)
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(Newser) – Happy Feet is now a creature of the Internet age. The wayward emperor penguin, discovered on a New Zealand beach six weeks ago, will soon be returned to the wild—but not before he picked up an online following of more than 120,000. That's how many unique visitors have logged onto a Web camera monitoring his every move. They don't seem bothered that Happy Feet, nicknamed after the 2006 animated movie, does little more than eat, sleep, and occasionally waddle. In fact, when the webcam was first installed, phone calls flooded the Wellington Zoo claiming Happy Feet had died—he was actually just sleeping.

Thousands more are expected to follow the updates after he's released in coming weeks, with feeds from a GPS tracker attached to his back posted online. The tracking unit will likely come off when Happy Feet molts in April, if not sooner, though the penguin has also been fitted with a microchip that will be triggered if he roams near monitored colonies in Antarctica. (Click to read more about Happy Feet, or to watch the live webcam.)

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