Today at 10:30 a.m. in New Zealand, the emperor penguin dubbed ‘Happy Feet’ was given a second chance in the wild– Happy Feet was released back into the Southern Ocean off of NIWA’s largest research vessel, the Tangaroa.
According to Wellington Zoo, back in June, Happy Feet was found stranded on Peka Peka beach on the Kapiti Coast and taken to Wellington Zoo to recover. According to Associated Press, the penguin after he was found emaciated and near death. According to Te Papa Blog, it was New Zealand’s second ever emperor penguin that came ashore.
Happy Feet, who’s a little over 3-years-old was released off of a ‘hydro-slide’ off the vessel– Other options including an inflatable boat were ruled out due to rough seas.
“Happy Feet needed some gentle encouragement to leave the safety of his crate that has been his home for six days. He slid down his specially designed penguin slide backwards but once he hit the water he spared no time in diving off away from the boat and all those ‘aliens’ who have been looking after him for so long,” said Dr. Lisa Argilla, Wellington Zoo manager of veterinary science in a statement.
According to Wellington Zoo, Happy Feet isn’t gone for good, the worldwide sensation has been fitted with a Sirtrack satellite tracker and a microchip so Happy Feet fans can follow his progress and whereabouts at www.nzemperor.com.