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Happy Feet brings seaside community together

Published: 6:53PM Saturday July 02, 2011 Source: ONE News

Everyone's favourite Emperor Penguin is recovering after yet another session on the operating table tonight.

The penguin, dubbed Happy Feet, had its stomach flushed early today at Wellington Zoo.

Vets removed more sand and even stones from inside the world-famous penguin. They are waiting for more X-rays before deciding whether to perform another internal flushing.

They said it could be months before Happy Feet finds its feet but they are optimistic it is on the mend.

Meanwhile, the small beachside settlement of Peka Peka is taking a special interest in the penguin's progress.

The tiny Kapiti town has inundated with attention since the bird washed up on the beach, not that locals minded.

"[It] just brought the whole community together," said one resident.

Since the find, the coastal community have become very attached to their beloved bird.

Nicknamed Happy Feet after the film of the same name, there's now a call for the famous Emperor Penguin to be renamed.

Peka Peka local Gail Inglis wants it done through a competition.

"I think the children of the beach will call it something, and they named it sort of Peka, and lost, and outcast," she said.

Also, one of the local children wants the part of Peka Peka beach where the bird was found to be renamed Penguin Patch.

Inglis has also set up a bank account called The Emperor Fund for people to donate money for the penguin's recovery.

Resident Errol Croad said it has taught locals a lesson.

"People need to understand what's happening in Antarctica, [that] if we don't look after it, it will not last forever - the ice is melting. [We're] having seen icebergs coming up past Otago - it's pretty unique, and now we've got a penguin on our shores," Croad said.

Peka Peka's feathery claim to fame will eventually return home.