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Friday, July 29, 2011

New Zealand's castaway penguin has p-p-p-picked up: Happy Feet given health clearance to return to Antarctica

By Daily Mail Reporter

New Zealand's favourite penguin visitor has been given the all-clear to return to the wild after he was found on a beach more than 2,000 miles from his Antarctic home.

The emperor penguin, nicknamed Happy Feet, has been recuperating at Wellington Zoo since he was discovered on the North Island five weeks ago.

He is the first emperor penguin to be found in the wild in New Zealand in 44 years.
He became ill after eating sand, likely mistaking it for snow.

But he has made good progress after a lifesaving operation by a top New Zealand surgeon, who removed nearly 7lb of sand from his stomach.

Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said the penguin has gained about 9lb and this week passed an X-ray and blood test.

Touch and go: Happy Feet undergoes an operation to have sand flushed from his throat and stomach

Ms Baker said the penguin will likely be released offshore from the south end of the country sometime in the next few weeks.



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