Happy Feet jr washes up near Wellington, 2000km from his home

A PENGUIN dubbed Happy Feet junior has been found stranded 2000 kilometres from home in New Zealand, reviving memories of another wayward penguin that washed up in 2011.

The latest stray was discovered close to death south of Wellington at the weekend and taken to the capital's zoo suffering from malnutrition and kidney failure.

Veterinary surgeon Lisa Argilla said on Wednesday it was a juvenile royal penguin, which had drifted far from a breeding colony in subantarctic Macquarie Island and was believed to be the first ever seen on the North Island.

''He's probably left Macquarie in February last year and been caught in a current as he's been feeding and ended up here,'' she said. ''He's in terrible condition, absolutely emaciated with his kidneys not functioning.

''Hopefully we can reverse that, feed him up and bring him back to good health, but it's touch and go at the moment.''

The original Happy Feet, named after the 2006 animated film, was an emperor penguin that stranded near Wellington in June 2011, attracting worldwide interest during its eight-week recuperation at the zoo.

A New Zealand research ship eventually released the penguin into the Southern Ocean after it received visits from celebrities such as Stephen Fry and best wishes from the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key.


This story Happy Feet jr washes up near Wellington, 2000km from his home first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.