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Remember the young Antarctic Emperor penguin that lost its way and came ashore New Zealand's North Shore in search of food? Well it seems like 'Happy Feet' as it has been affectionately named, is doing so well, that it may soon be released to the wild.
The 10-month old penguin's saga began about five weeks ago, when it washed ashore New Zealand'sPeka Peka beach. At first, experts believed that it would stay for a short time and then realizing its mistake, head back the ocean. However, not only did Happy Feet stay put, but it also, began eating sand, mistaking it for snow.
With the penguin's life in danger, the authorities had no choice but to capture and take him to the Wellington Zoo, where they performed three operations to remove the approximately 7lbs. of sand it had eaten.
The good news is that once the sand was removed, Happy Feet improved rapidly and has even added 9lbs. of fat to his bony frame - Enough for him to survive a trip back home, in the freezing ocean waters.
While he was offered a free ride to Antarctica aboard an expedition that is leaving next year, authorities are reluctant to do that for fear, that it could transmit some infection that it may have inadvertently picked on this adventure, to the Antarctic penguin colony.
They have therefore opted to fly him to the Southern Ocean that lies southeast of New Zealand, where other young emperor penguins are known to live. Once there, they hope that Happy Feet will be able to figure out his way home. Bon Voyage little one!
Resources: news.com.au, guardian.co.uk