Lost Emperor Penguin in New Zealand taken to Wellington Zoo in Poor Health

 @MarkJohansonIBT on June 24 2011 2:30 PM

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An Emperor Penguin stands on a beach on Kapiti coast June 20, 2011. The bird's arrival, the second ever recorded according to New Zealand's Department of Conservation, has caught the public's attention as Emperor Penguins usually live in Antarctica, more than 3,000 Km (1,864 miles) away. Picture taken June 20. REUTERS/New Zealand Government-Department of Conservation

Earlier this week, we reported about a stranded penguin that swam up onto a New Zealand Beach:

Wildlife experts are astonished at the appearance of an Emperor Penguin in New Zealand, some 3000 kilometers (1,900 miles) from his Antarctic home.

Penguins are no strangers to New Zealand beaches. The country has several species including the rare yellow-eyed Hoiho and the common blue or Little Penguin. Yet an emperor penguin has not swum up on these shores since 1967.

The juvenile male arrived at a beach on the Kapati Coast, 40km (25 miles) north of the capital Wellington on the North Island.

Peter Simpson of the Department of Conservation (DOC) said he did not initially believe reports that the wayward bird was an Emperor Penguin, the largest species of the distinctive waddling creatures, which can grow up to 1.15 meters tall.

At first I thought it must have been some sort of seal but we went and checked it out and to our immense surprise it did indeed turn out to be an Emperor Penguin, he told Australia's ABC.

Mr Simpson said the bird appeared to be in good health and was taking regular swims to cool down in the relative warmth of the New Zealand climate.

At this time of year he should be sitting on the sea ice in Antarctica in 24-hour darkness, he said.

They go out to sea to feed in the Antarctic summer and this one, he's a juvenile and it's his first time out, so it looks like he's gone a long way out and got lost.

As the week progressed, the lost penguin's health took a turn for the worse. He began eating sand instead of the snow he would usually eat, and looked a bit wobbly and disoriented. Experts decided that something had to be done and today, the bird was moved to the Wellington Zoo.

Here's the full story:

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