Stranded penguin reported critically ill
This emperor penguin showed up Monday on a beach in New Zealand, almost 2,000 miles from home.
June 25th, 2011
11:37 AM ET

Stranded penguin reported critically ill

The lonely emperor penguin that showed up on a New Zealand beach last week is critically ill from eating sand and sticks, veterinarians told TVNZ.

The 60-pound flightless bird, nicknamed "Happy Feet" by the New Zealand media, has undergone two surgical procedures since being taken to the Wellington Zoo on Friday, TVNZ reported.

The penguin, the first of its kind seen in New Zealand in 44 years, had a 50-50 chance of surviving when it arrived at the zoo, spokeswoman Kate Baker told the New Zealand Herald.

Penguins will eat snow and ice to cool off, and that's what "Happy Feet" may have been trying to do, Colin Miskelly, terrestrial vertebrates curator at New Zealand's national museum, told TVNZ.

Conservation officials are reluctant to place "Happy Feet" with other penguins in a zoo or return it to the wild in Antarctica for fear of spreading disease, according to the Herald.

Mal Hackett, penguin keeper at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, thinks the bird swam 2,000 miles from its Antarctic home because it was already sick, and she isn't optimistic about the outcome.

"I don't like his chances," she told the New Zealand Press Association. "It is a very long way from home and isn't going to return."

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Filed under: Animals • Birds • New Zealand
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. mizh

    Yep. Lots of inane comments from sweaty-palm mouth-breathers. One can hope they are the first to go because of their stupidity... just unfortunate that the rest of us have to be subjected to them before they blunder off the planet.

    Back to the subject, people: I'm sorry for the poor penguin and hope it can be nursed back to health and relocated back to its home, where it belongs.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. more like Deangelo Butthole

    🙁 This makes me so sad... poor thing. Eating dirt and sticks. I hope he survives.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mindy

    Prayers going out to poor "Happy Feet" tonight. I know he is in loving and capable hands.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Robert Jenkins

    Oh no!!! Don't let him die! There are only a half billion penguins left if he goes!!! Save him!

    June 26, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. ajd041

    I agree completely with robert we have people dying every day in afghanistan and libya cancer remaining uncured and u people are obsessing over a penguin in new zealand woohoo!

    June 26, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. ajd041

    I did a little research and the person who said it was 20,000 miles from antarctica to new zealand must have added an extra zero or something bcuz its only about 2000 miles

    June 26, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. K9zGirl

    Some really rude heartless comments on here. Since when does caring for animals mean that it's impossible to care for humans beings? Impressive is right!
    *Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace..
    Dr. Albert Schweitzer

    June 26, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • K9zGirl


      June 26, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Good quote and agreed.

      June 26, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Brasky

      Penguins aren't A**holes by nature.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      The penguin should never go back into the wild. Evolution is brutal sorry. The penguin made a mistake and mother nature was punishing it, sad but the way of the wild.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Geoff

    Tennessee Tuxedo. Opus. Chilly Willy. Pablo (from Backyardigans). Can't these penguins use their celebrity status to put pressure on politcos to help Happy Feet?

    June 26, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. LiberalNN


    June 26, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nathan

    Penguins have always been my favorite animals. This makes me sad 🙁

    June 26, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Carissa

    It's funny... when we intervene to show compassion to an animal, people say we are interfering with evolution, survival of the fittest, and "the way of the wild." Using that logic, shouldn't we stop treating cancer in humans? Is that not also mother nature acting to weed out the weakest of our species? Shouldn't we let women die in childbirth? After all, that is the "way of the wild" isn't it? Or perhaps we need to put an end to artificial insemination and other technological means of producing children for people who nature has decided should be childless...

    The fact is, we interfere with nature all the time–particularly as it suits us as a human race. Moreover, we often interfere with nature for animal species (hunters don't "weed out" the weakest of animals when they hunt, instead, they target the strongest and largest–killing what nature would have survive) whenever it pleases or benefits us.

    To act as though "nature" is inviolate is hypocritical and ignorant.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Omegarising

    Conservation officials are reluctant to place "Happy Feet" with other penguins in a zoo or return it to the wild in Antarctica for fear of spreading disease, according to the Herald.

    Ummm hey dip wads! How about capturing it and putting it in isolation and test it for disease and wait for the results, if no disease, relocate it. HOLY FUUCCKK! HOW HARD IS THAT?

    June 26, 2011 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mmmmm

    But really folks, I think this one big bird hangover. Happyfeet and his boyz went partyin' and on a drunkin' dare challenged one another who can swam 2000mile to New Zealand...they passed out...his drinking stupid led him to take the the dared and made it. Betcha his buddies back home still looking for him...

    June 26, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bora

    David: You got balls! I appreciate your gacroue and insight on how things (sadly) often are in the church world. We are so broken and this should cause us to walk humbly and gently and graciously. Unfortunately, our self-protective mechanisms kick in and we become the opposite in order to cloak the truth. Keep up the good work.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
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