Emergency aid for penguin washed up in New Zealand

Wednesday 20 February 2013 17.50
The penguin was starving when it was washed up on the coast of New Zealand
The penguin was starving when it was washed up on the coast of New Zealand

A young royal penguin was found starving on New Zealand's south coast of Wellington, 1,242 miles away from home.

The penguin dubbed "Happy Feet Junior" was taken to Wellington Zoo for treatment.

Speaking to New Zealand's TVNZ, veterinary surgeon Lisa Argilla said it was a juvenile royal penguin from a breeding colony in sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.

According to her the penguin was suffering from malnutrition.

"Something has happened out at sea, he's not found enough food, something has gone wrong with his hunting and he's come ashore because he has to molt," said Ms Argilla.

"It's very weak, doesn't want to stand. It's making very small progress every day, but it's still in critical condition," she added.

In June 2011, another penguin, named "Happy Feet" after the 2006 animation film, washed up in New Zealand from Antarctica.

That bird's story and its eight-week long recovery at Wellington Zoo received media coverage all over the world.

It was eventually released back into the Southern Ocean, fitted with a tracking device.

After a few days, the device stopped transmitting, prompting fears it had been eaten by a shark.