Happy Feet, as the Emperor penguin found on a New Zealand beach some five weeks ago has been dubbed, has been given a health clearance to head back home to Antartica. The penguin swam over 3,200 kilometers (2000 miles) from its home to Peka Peka beach on the North Island’s western coast. After spending some days on the beach — during which it ate driftwood and sand, probably mistaking the latter for snow — Happy Feet was taken to the Wellington Zoo and underwent endoscopic surgery.
Since then, he’s been staying at the zoo in an air-conditioned room where the temperature is a nicely icy 2 degrees Celsius (shaved ice and big blocks of ice add to the chill).
The Star reports that Happy Feet has gained about nine pounds (four kilograms) and passed an x-ray and a blood test. The penguin is likely to be released from the south end of New Zealand in a few weeks.
I don’t know if there are any plans to track Happy Feet to see if he returns safely home. Assuming that he does, he will have quite a tale to relate and one with — hoping that he makes it back to Antartica — a happy ending.
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Photo of Emperor penguins in Antartica by elisfanclub