Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content


New Zealand Refuses to Ship Home Lost Happy Feet Emperor Penguin

| Share

by editor

editor's picture
In The News

The last sighting of a penguin in New Zealand is 44 years ago: A baby Emperor penguin has washed up on Peka Peka shores roughly 4,000 miles from Antarcticca. Nicknamed "Happy Feet" by locals, the country's not planning on getting the lost baby home. Officials state: "We are going to let nature take its course." That "course" may equal death for Happy Feet.
In another 1,000 miles, Happy Feet would've swum his way to the Equator. The Emperor baby penguin is thought to have hatched about 10 months ago -- subsequently caught in a jetstream or current, and thought to have gotten lost while looking for food. The penguin has been resting on New Zealand beach sands during the day, taking to the water at night. Whether Happy Feet is a baby boy or girl no one knows, since the two sexes are nearly indistinguishable among Emperor penguins.
New Zealand wildlife officials aren't doing anything quickly with Happy Feet--who can probably go several more weeks before a feeding, but won't be able to survive the warmer climate forever. Peter Simpson, a program manager for New Zealand's Department of Conservation, says local officials are asking interested visitors to stand back about 30 feet from the penguin--and being asked to avoid letting dogs near the animal. Other than that, the country apparently doesn't plan to do a lot to help ensure the well-being or future existence of Happy Feet.
The country claims the penguin could've caught a disease while swimming through warmer water climates--and therefore, supposedly, doesn't want to be responsible for introducing illnesses into the insulated Antarctic penguin colony. That's according to Peter Simpson at New Zealand's Department of Conservation.
New Zealand's other arguments are about as weak: The country says Antarctica is currently dark almost 24 hours a day in Antarctica and that almost no one travels to the spot this time of year, according to Simpson.
Those factors seem a bit irrelevant. Transporters wouldn't exactly need to stay for long.
If those reasons don't work for people, New Zealand is throwing out the idea that there'd be no simple way to transport and cool a bird which stands almost three 3ft (1m) tall and is well insulated with fat.
Apparently that translates to no "inexpensive" way.
In the meantime the animal is more than a bit stuck: Penguins usually get liquids through eating snow--though can get hydration temporarily through drinking salt water from the ocean. The Emperor penguin has been eating wet sand from Peka Peka Beach, in what deemd the baby's mistake in believing the sans is snow. The Emperor penguin's plight has been sparking requests from around the globe since it washed up on beach shores -- with pleas that New Zealand actually do something to help get Happy Feet back home.
New Zealand's Simpson says he hopes the penguin will find its own way back, especially as it starts to become hungry. The penguin probably hopes so too--but 4,000 miles on its own probably isn't going to happen. And Simpson apparently doesn't plan to extend any action beyond the idea of hope. Simpson says: "We are going to let nature take its course. It [Happy Feet] roamed here naturally. What is wrong with that?"
Actually, quite a lot. Nice and tacky, New Zealand




Peka Peka Beach
New Zealand
| Share
Average: 5 (2 votes)