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New Zealand Penguin in Critical Condition Surgery after Eating 7 lbs Sand

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by copythat

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In The News

The baby penguin that washed up on Peka Peka shores of New Zealand, nicknamed "Happy Feet" by locals, is getting a ride home--but not after being forced into surgery to save the Emperor penguin's life that ate or ingested seven pounds in sand. The penguin's desperately ill and in Critical Condition thanks to wildlife officials.
Self-righteous New Zealand wildlife officials weren't planning on doing anything with 'Happy Feet' -- and one official in particular has claimed multiple reasons that it was not necessary for action to be taken in assisting the lost baby. The theory was that the penguin, an animal who normally gets its liquids through eating snow, could obtain hydration temporarily through drinking salt water from the ocean.
In fact, there was the claim the penguin could probably go several more weeks before a feeding. But it seems the baby penguin didn't get that memo: While New Zealand and its officials had done nothing to help the stranded baby penguin, other than warding off onlookers with dogs on Peka Peka beach, the Emperor penguin had been eating sand--with thoughts the animal may have been mistaking sand for snow.
Whatever the reason for ingestion, the Emperor penguin -- stranded more than 4,000 miles from its Antarctica home -- ended up consuming more than seven pounds of sand.
Those pounds of sand (3kg) threatened the baby Emperor's life, by potentially hardening into concrete-like balls that could rupture the penguin’s stomach according to veterinarian Lisa Gills. Sand was also removed through surgery from the penguin's esophagus at Wellington Zoo in New Zealand.
Surgeries are not done: 'Happy Feet' is slated for a second surgery as soon as tomorrow, after the penguin had water pumped into its stomach today. Vets say there's more sand to be removed yet -- but any surgeries after the second could be life-threatening.
'Happy Feet' is going home after a millionaire philanthropist has intervened. Gareth Morgan is coming to the rescue of the now-ill penguin which has been ignored by New Zealand. The stranded baby Emperor -- if it survives having eaten sand and the subsequent surgeries required -- will head back to Antarctica on a Russian icebreaker headed out to the Ross Sea. The "Spirit of Enderby" will be giving 'Happy Feet' a lift home.
Thanks to New Zealand wildlife officials, the baby penguin had to have surgery and was deemed in "Critical Condition" -- all after becoming "distressed and lethargic". 'Happy Feet' probably became much happier after getting air-conditioning and shaved ice while under emergency care.
Peter Simpson of New Zealand's Department of Conservation had been quoted as telling the media: "We are going to let nature take its course. It [Happy Feet, the Antarctic baby penguin] roamed here naturally. What is wrong with that?"
It seems there was a lot wrong with the idea of letting "nature take its course" in the stranding of a baby more than 4,000 miles from any adult to help ensure its safety.
Despite global pleas to help 'Happy Feet' get home or to a safet habitat than stranded on a beach, New Zealand had openly expressed the idea it would not be helping the baby get home. In a disgusting show, the country's officials still aren't apparently planning doing a damn thing -- but at least someone plans to help get the Emperor back to its habitat. 


Wellington Zoo
200 Daniell Street
Newtown, WGN
New Zealand
Phone: 04 381 6755
Fax: 04 389 4577
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