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Happy Feet finding his bearings

Published: 6:37AM Monday September 05, 2011 Source: ONE News

Happy Feet appears to be taking his time before heading back to Antarctica.

The emperor penguin, who was nursed back to health after washing up on Peka Peka beach two months ago, was released back into the Southern Ocean yesterday.

Experts hope he will naturally find his way back home, but a GPS tracking device attached to the bird seemed to show he was heading back to New Zealand.

He was released near Campbell Island after spending a week on a NIWA research vessel, and he was expected to swim from there several hundred kilometres south.

But the tracking device shows he initially headed north east from where he was dropped off.

The latest update shows he's turned around and is heading south to Antarctica again.

Follow Happy Feet's progress here

Happy Feet slid down into the sea on a tarpaulin at the stern of the Tangaroa, and needed a little bit of encouragement to make the plunge.

"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," Wellington Zoo, Manager of Veterinary Science, Lisa Argilla, who is on the vessel, said.

The team on board the Tangaroa will now continue their voyage on a month-long fisheries survey on Campbell Island southern blue whiting stocks.

Have your Happy Feet say on the messageboard below.

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  • kiwib said on 2011-09-05 @ 12:17 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I'm disappointed that the "track Happy Feet" map hasn't been updated. I've been checking it ever since he was released and it hasn't altered, whereas on the news just now I saw he has been zig-zagging here and there. PLEASE, whoever is meant to be updating it, get with it! No point having the map there if all it shows is the drop-off point!

  • Tinks said on 2011-09-05 @ 10:29 NZDT: Report abusive post

    For the most part, I agree with you. No expense is spared when it comes to animals. It's a matter of 'Save the Whales and Let the Babies Die' unfortunately. Oh, and I am a complete animal lover and a very up-beat person....lol.

  • emum said on 2011-09-05 @ 09:11 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Good Luck Happy Feet! Gosh some people just don't like "HAPPY" news do they, would rather have doom & gloom 24/7, me well I love HAPPY!!

  • nicholas17 said on 2011-09-05 @ 09:03 NZDT: Report abusive post

    God Speed you on your way Happy Feet. Go forth and enjoy the life of an Emporer Penguin.

  • nicholas17 said on 2011-09-05 @ 09:03 NZDT: Report abusive post

    God Speed you on your way Happy Feet. Go forth and enjoy the life of an Emporer Penguin.

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