WELLINGTON – A penguin dubbed “Happy Feet Jr.” has been found stranded 2,000 km from home in New Zealand, reviving memories of another wayward penguin that washed up in 2011.
The latest wandering stray was discovered near death on the coast south of Wellington over the weekend and taken to the capital’s zoo suffering from malnutrition and kidney failure. Veterinary surgeon Lisa Argilla said it was a juvenile royal penguin that had drifted far from a breeding colony in sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island, and was believed to be the first ever seen on the North Island.
“He’s probably left Macquarie in February last year and (had) been caught in a current as he’s been feeding and ended up here,” she said. “He’s in terrible condition, absolutely emaciated with his kidneys not functioning. Hopefully we can reverse that — but it’s touch and go at the moment.”