Emperor Penguin, Peka peka beach

This was only the second record for Emperor Penguins on the NZ mainland (the other the bottom of the South Island).  This bird was clearly a long way off course, disoriented, and a little sick.  Overheating in the waters of the Kapiti coast (compared to its usual haunt in the Antarctic) it was eating sand, following the practice of eating snow in the Antarctic to cool down.  It wasn’t helping.  The bird turned up clearly distressed on Peka peka beach.  A day later it was taken to Wellington zoo animal hospital, and ultimately released back in to subantarctic waters with a GPS tracker that ceased working soon after release, so we don’t know what happened to “happy feet”.  There is still a sign on Peka peka beach commemorating this unusual appearance.



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