Monday, June 27, 2011

Hope for the Penguin - a.k.a. Happy Feet

Sounds like there may be hope for the lost penguin who the people of New Zealand have named Happy Feet. Still don't know whether Happy Feet is a girl or a boy - they are running DNA tests to determine that. Happy Feet - HF -  is currently recovering at the New Zealand zoo after an endoscopy to remove all the sand in his stomach. HF had enough sand to fill its stomach and esophagus. In Antarctica, they normally eat ice to cool down and to hydrate. It's possible HF mistook or tried to substitute the sand for snow or ice. HF has undergone multiple stomach flushes, but getting all the sand out remains a challenge. They are worried that the sand could cause a rupture.

The zoo currently has four little blue penguins, which are native in New Zealand. All have been rehabilitated; one is missing an eye, and one is missing a flipper. But taking care of an emperor penguin is an entirely different story. The bird's temporary quarters include air conditioning set as cold as possible and shaved ice to help the emperor stay cool. Keeping the bird at the zoo permanently isn't feasible. Not only would building an exhibit to house an emperor penguin be extremely expensive, the wild bird is "a very social animal. They would need more penguins.

The top priority is helping the bird recover. If all goes well, representatives from the Wellington zoo, New Zealand's Department of Conservation and other experts will decide where the penguin should go. They hope HF will be able to return to the wild.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to here the little guy is doing better. He is pretty amazing!