June 28th, 2011
11:37 AM ET

Wayward penguin reportedly doing better

The errant emperor penguin that showed up on a New Zealand beach a week ago appears to be feeling better after emergency treatment, New Zealand media report.

The lost Antarctic bird, the first seen in New Zealand in 43 years, had shown "feisty" behavior and eaten fish after veterinarians and a physician at the Wellington Zoo flushed more than 5 pounds of sand and sticks from its belly, TVNZ reported.

"Every day he survives, we have more confidence," Mauritz Basson, the zoo's general manager for operations, told TV One on Tuesday morning.

Although Basson used a masculine pronoun, the penguin's sex is not known.

"They do use ice to cool themselves down," Basson said by way of explaining the sand in the bird's belly. "I think he was probably trying to cool down sitting on Peka Peka Beach, which is slightly warmer than Antarctica this time of year.

"He consumed the sand, which didn't melt, didn't cool him down, so he ate it until he was full and he deteriorated quickly from there."

Experts are debating what to do next if the bird recovers. For now, it's being kept alone in a cold room with a blanket of ice on the floor. Keepers are reluctant to move it into a population for fear of spreading some undetected disease.

One such expert, John Cockrem, suggest releasing the penguin into the sea, point it toward Antarctica and let it find its own way home if it can.

"The bird had swum here naturally and in spring the juveniles would normally turn around and head south," he told TVNZ. "So if the bird is back in the water it can make its own way south as it would have normally done."

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Filed under: Animals • Birds • New Zealand • Penguins
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. banasy

    Nice nod to Kansas.

    June 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    That's not the Joey I met the other day who posted the pengui-lube story. Joey has long fingers and would have been able to hold on to the penguin with one hand, easily. ha ha! BUSTED: Troll

    June 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Thank you, Philip, and true: long, Strong fingers.

    June 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    You play an instrument don't you Joey? I played the trumpet in grade-school. Now all I ca do is a pretty good Mick Fleetwood beat-a-long. he he. You make references to classical music? I had you pegged for modern jazz. (shrug)

    June 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I am a "classical"–that's a misnomer–pianist. I do other related things, but I am basically a pianist.
    I played oboe really well as a kid–at eleven on–but I gave up everything else at 16 to focus on piano.

    June 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    @ banasy, glad to be able to help out. Every 1 needs a little crackup in their day! You've done it for me a time or 2, thanks! @ JIF, the real, troll need not reply (I'm probably in for it now), I'm a singer, mainly R&B but love "classical" & opera & can sing the sh!t out of some Kiri TeKanawa or Willhelminia Wiggins-Fernandes! My day job was childcare(retired), but will never retire from music, it's part of me like my blue eyes, in my DNA. Hate to quote music I don't repect that much, but I was born this way! Like to meet & chat with other musicians, & I've read your post so thought I'd introduce myself! I totally respect your obvious dedication to your art, & you get some funny or poignant quotes in, too!!

    June 29, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ fernace:
    I know exactly what you do. I've kept a close eye on your posts dacche' la sera quando abbiamo parlato un poco in italiano–tu parli troppo bene per me quest' anno ma parlavo piu' sveltamente trenta anni fa.
    Voglio abitare in Italia...forse fra un anno. Music is my day job. I've wanted to stop several times, but I always come back to it.
    I don't want to "come out" on here and ask for audiences.
    Horowitz liked my playing and let me use his piano from the Steinway basement for my concerts.

    June 29, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Ora vado al "gym."

    June 29, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. fernace

    @JIF, so you must be fluent in Italian, as I am in Swedish. Jag har ingen ide' vad du har skrivit, men det ser valdigt romantiskt ut! Italienska ar ju en av dom romantiska spraken, som Franska. I'm an immigrant hoping for my dual citizenship as soon as $ allows. You are a lucky pup to be able to make $ as a musician, & to have Horowitz offering his Steinway to you! You must be badass! I'm in Austin, music capitol of Tx. & most of us are starving artists, unless we are exceptional(like me:)). So I'm dabbling, picking my gigs, just for sustenance. Lots of blues, not much R&B, but I'm about to change that. Have a great day!

    June 29, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I thought we chatted in Italian. Sorry. Everybody in music knows what comes from Austin. At work now till after 7:00. I almost know your voice from what you wrote; I know the Fach.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
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