Friday, July 8, 2011

Emperor penguin washes up on beach far from home in New Zealand

It is the first time in 44 years the Antarctic bird has been sighted in the wild in the South Pacific country and many came to catch a glimpse of the bird as it rested on the sand.

Conservation experts say the penguin is about 10 months old and stands about 32 inches high.

Colin Miskelly, a curator at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, said the bird may have been searching for squid and krill when it took a wrong turn.

Miskelly said Emperor penguins can spend months at a time in the ocean.

He added the penguin appeared healthy and well-fed, with plenty of body fat, and probably came ashore for a rest.

However, Miskelly said the penguin would need to find its way back south soon if it were to survive.

Officials from New Zealand's Department of Conservation were asking people to stand back about 30 feet from the creature and to avoid letting dogs near it.

The last confirmed sighting of a wild Emperor in New Zealand was in 1967 at the southern Oreti Beach, an official from the Department of Conservation said.

Footage from APTN

View the original article here

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