Happy Feet penguin, the Emperor penguin which was washed up on a beach near Wellington in New Zealand in mid-June and became a global sensation, was released back into the Southern Ocean on Sunday, September 5, to begin a long swim home to Antarctica.
Happy Feet weighs 27.5 kilograms (60.5 pounds). The penguin was released into the water from the New Zealand fisheries vessel Tangaroa near Campbell Island, about 700 kilometres (435 miles) south of New Zealand’s South Island.
His home in Antarctica is about 2,000 kilometres further south and it is expected he will join up with other emperor penguins on the long voyage.
The three-and-a-half-year-old Happy Feet had travelled south in a custom-made crate designed to keep him cold and comfortable during the voyage.
A young Emperor penguin which was washed up on a New Zealand beach after straying thousands of miles from home created buzz on the internet.
The penguin, named “Happy Feet” by the Wellington Zoo, has been living in New Zealand since June and it’s set to head back to the sub-Antarctic on August 29 in a specially designed cage aboard a research vessel.
The penguin will be released from the ship about four days out at sea, en route to its final destination.
“Happy Feet” has captured the hearts of New Zealanders and people across the world after it turned up on a beach some 2,500 miles from its home, only the second Emperor penguin known to have shown up in New Zealand ever.