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. U-Turn

    Mmmm...Penguine Burgers...Mmmmmm

    June 28, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rafael

      U r sick in the head. Mebe u can check urself in the vet's clinic once the penguin is ok. a special psychiatric ward will do nicely i think.

      June 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Oh come on, you mean to tell me you have never had a nice juicy penguine burger, whale steak, puffin omlette, or even a seal salame sandwich? You haven't lived until you tried some Arctic Cuisine my friend!

      June 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rafael

      sorry dude, am a vegetarian

      June 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Oh well...you're lose is my snack. 🙂

      June 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    Gives new meaning to "Pack Sand".

    June 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Imglad

    They'll nurse him back to health set him free and then he'll make a tasty meal for some polar bear.

    June 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Nah, he won't make it past the great whites off the coast of New Zealand.

      June 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shazz

      Polar Bearss live in the North Pole, Penguins live in the South Pole.

      June 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sheryl

    Has anybody heard of skirts made of penguin feathers? Male penguins, of course.
    I thick it's be nice...kind of basic-black Coco...
    Go with my seal wrap.
    And red toenails.

    June 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      I prefer puffin feathers and puffin down to the penguine feathers. It may take more puffins per square inch of material, but the feeling can't be "beat."

      June 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sheryl

    Does banasy really have handcuffs?

    June 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pedro'

    This was a Great White Penguin. The very fiercest kind. They grow up to 70 feet in length and have razor shap teeth. This baby eats sharks for breakfast.

    June 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      African or European?

      June 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Once I rode a penguin. Those babies are hot.

    June 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Personally, I prefer snow bunnies. Now those will melt the ice off a witch's teets.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CSnSC

    Used that Python ref at work yesterday. Ha !

    June 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Hehehe... its a classic, you can never go wrong with it.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    @Sheryl:
    Yes.

    June 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fernace

    Happy Feet are here again..... very happy to know he/she's getting better & isn't ill from penguin root rot or penGravesing disease! I have no doubt he/she can make it back to his/her homeland. He/she just needs to bypass the sharks & salwater crocs & he/she will be good to go. No polars in the Antartic! Btw, I had whale steak a long time ago, in Norway, when they were legal to hunt. It was the most tender, suckulent beef I've ever had (not a secksual reference)! But I'd rather watch them frolic in the fjord, where my grandmom Gustava lives, than eat them! Here's to Happy Feet, safe journey to you lil' Emperor!!

    June 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy

    @fernace:

    You crack me up. You really do!

    June 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    It only takes a penguin about 35 seconds to feeze solid when exposed to one of Antarctica's catabatic winds. The coldest and most powerful winds on earth. It takes far longer to thaw them out. (even if you boil them)

    June 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    Plus boiled penguin tastes yucky. The best way to prepare fresh penguin is to throw them into a pot of hot grease. Don't forget to trim the webs out from between their toes before you do though. (so they don't splash hot grease everywhere)

    June 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Ishata-Banana

    You guys aren't funny. This poor animal is an ex-lover of mine. I have been looking for him for weeks now. Ever since we were on that romantic yacht trip and things got out of hand with the lube and he slid off the deck. Please have some heart. I think he hit his head or something during his fall, which would explain his recent actions. I hope he didnt lose those beads I stuck up in him, those were brand new.

    June 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carry On Wayward Penguin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB17uWuBrL0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    June 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
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