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“Happy Feet” The Wayward Penguin Released Near Campbell Island in Southern Ocean

Sun September 04 2011 12:52 pm
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VIDEO: “Happy Feet” needed a little push before speeding backward down a makeshift slide down the research ocean vessel “Tangaroa”. Once in the water, he popped his head up for one last look. And then he was gone.

“Happy Feet” the wayward emperor penguin was back home in Antarctic waters with 25-foot seas. More than two months ago he showed up 2,000 miles away from home in New Zealand. Conservation experts thought they would leave him there, but he kept eating sand on the shore, apparently thinking it was snow and ice. After a surgical procedure to remove over 6 pounds of sand, “Happy Feet” was transported to the Southern Ocean from the Wellington Zoo, and released about 50 miles north of Campbell Island on Sunday morning, September 4, 2011.

Campbell Island (Motu Ihupuku) is a remote, subantarctic island of New Zealand and the main island of the Campbell Island group. Camp Island covers 43.51 square miles of the group’s 43.75 square miles, and is surrounded by numerous stacks, rocks and islets. Those islands include Dent Island, Folly Island (or Folly Islands), Isle de Jeanette Marie, and Jacquemart Island, the latter being the southernmost extremity of New Zealand.

The Southern Ocean, also known as the Great Southern Ocean, the Antarctic Ocean and the South Polar Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean. Southern Ocean is generally defined to be south of 60°S latitude — encircling Antarctica.

Wellington Zoo is a 100-year-old zoo located in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington Zoo is New Zealand’s first zoo and has 32 acres dedicated to over 100 different species from around the world. Wellington Zoo is a significant contributor to conservation efforts, including breeding programs for endangered species such as the Sun Bear and Sumatran tiger, a critically endangered animal with possibly only 300 remaining in the wild.

The Wellington Zoo also has sleepover night when visitors can bring a sleeping bag and see what happens behind the scenes at the zoo overnight.

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