Antarctic penguin shows up in New Zealand, eats sand instead of snow
An apparently disoriented juvenile emperor penguin that recently gained international attention when it showed up on a New Zealand beach after swimming 3,000 kilometers from Antarctica is recovering from endoscopic surgery to have sand and small bits of driftwood removed from its stomach, according to BBC News.
The penguin—dubbed Happy Feet—was discovered by a woman walking her dog on Peka Peka Beach, on New Zealand’s lower North Island, in late June. The bird was eating sand, likely mistaking it for snow, which penguins eat to cool off. Within two days of its discovery, it started acting strangely and was lying on its stomach with its head on the sand. At first, experts declined to intervene, but Happy Feet was transported to the Wellington Zoo after becoming lethargic.
The penguin is doing well, but is likely to need more medical work done over the next several months.
A businessman has offered to ship Happy Feet back to Antarctica in February, when he is due to lead an expedition there, but zoo officials said the penguin may be moved sooner.