Sad end for 'Happy Feet Jr.' in New Zealand

February 21, 2013
This undated handout photo obtained from Wellington Zoo on February 20, 2013 shows the penguin dubbed Happy Feet junior in New Zealand. The penguin that washed up in New Zealand 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from his home has died despite intensive efforts to save him, Wellington Zoo said Friday.

A penguin dubbed Happy Feet junior that washed up in New Zealand 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from his home has died despite intensive efforts to save him, Wellington Zoo said Friday.

A veterinary team spent five days caring for the bird, a juvenile royal penguin which had drifted far from a breeding colony in sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island after spending an estimated 12 months at sea.

But the zoo's chief vet Lisa Argilla said the penguin died overnight as malnutrition and took their toll.

"As the penguin arrived nearly three kilograms (6.6 pounds) underweight, it had absolutely no reserves and subsequently we suspect that this led to multiple , following the kidney failure diagnosed on its arrival," she said.

"Wildlife medicine is a very challenging field and though we did the best we could, sadly the penguin didn't survive."

The bird's discovery revived memories of the original Happy Feet, an that was found stranded near Wellington in June 2011, attracting worldwide interest during an eight-week recuperation at the zoo.

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

However, a tracking device attached to the bird stopped transmitting after a few days, sparking fears it had been eaten by a shark.

Explore further: Top medic operates on New Zealand's 'lost' penguin

Related Stories

New Zealand's lost penguin sets sail for home

August 29, 2011

A wayward emperor penguin that found international fame after washing up lost on a New Zealand beach made a low-key exit from Wellington Monday aboard a research ship bound for his home waters.

Happy Feet the penguin begins long swim home

September 4, 2011

Happy Feet, the lost penguin who became a worldwide celebrity after he washed up on a New Zealand beach was released back into the Southern Ocean on Sunday to begin a long swim home to Antarctica.

Happy Feet the penguin missing in Southern Ocean

September 12, 2011

Scientists tracking Happy Feet, the wayward penguin who became a worldwide celebrity after washing up on a New Zealand beach, said Monday they had lost contact with the giant bird.

'Happy Feet Jr.' found stranded in New Zealand

February 20, 2013

A penguin dubbed Happy Feet junior has been found stranded 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from home in New Zealand, reviving memories of another wayward penguin that washed up in 2011.

Recommended for you

Secrets of a heat-loving microbe unlocked

September 4, 2015

Scientists studying how a heat-loving microbe transfers its DNA from one generation to the next say it could further our understanding of an extraordinary superbug.

Plants also suffer from stress

September 4, 2015

High salt in soil dramatically stresses plant biology and reduces the growth and yield of crops. Now researchers have found specific proteins that allow plants to grow better under salt stress, and may help breed future generations ...

Ancient walnut forests linked to languages, trade routes

September 4, 2015

If Persian walnut trees could talk, they might tell of the numerous traders who moved along the Silk Roads' thousands of miles over thousands of years, carrying among their valuable merchandise the seeds that would turn into ...

Huddling rats behave as a 'super-organism'

September 3, 2015

Rodents huddle together when it is cold, they separate when it is warm, and at moderate temperatures they cycle between the warm center and the cold edges of the group. In a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.