Happy Feet, a young emperor penguin, was found walking on Peka Peka Beach, north of Wellington in New Zealand, on June 20. He had somehow gotten way off track and swam 2,000 miles from Antartica. He stayed on the beach for some days but was taken in by the Wellington Zoo after eating driftwood and sand (which he’d mistaken for snow). After surgery, he spent several weeks recovering in a specially air-conditioned room. The Wellington Zoo set up a webcam and, like Knut, Shrek and Heidi, the three-year-old penguin acquired a worldwide following.
In the beginning of September, Happy Feet released into the southern ocean. He was outfitted with a tracking device, which soon went silent. While it’s possible that he may have been eaten, by a shark or a killer whale, it’s also very likely that the tracker just fell off and that Happy Feet made his way back home to Antartica.
Photo of an emperor penguin in Antartica by Jenny Varley
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Photo of Knut in 2009 by Udo SchrĂ¶her
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