Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Penguin Nicknamed Happy Feet Cannot be Returned to Antarctica

Over the past few days there has been a lot of news about an Emperor Penguin that was found in New Zealand and has undergone surgery at the Wellington Zoo. The penguin has been given the nickname Happy Feet due to him being the same species as the main character of that movie. Happy Feet is on the mend, but there still remains the debate on what to do with him when he has fully recovered.

Regularly injured animals are nursed back to health and released back in their native habitat, but the unique Antarctica environment leads to different issues. Mainly, the Antarctic Treaty prohibits bringing live birds to Antarctica and that includes the native Emperor Penguin. This is to protect the native animals, as he could bring in diseases that could be devastating to the penguin colony. Another problem is even if he does get the special permit to return, they might not return him to his actual colony since there is no way to know where he came from.

So, what do they do? Well, that is still to be determined, but the most likely option seems to be releasing him from southern New Zealand allowing him to perhaps return as he came from Antarctica.

Read more about this here.

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