The Week - Junior

Tiny penguin begins 1,550mile trip


Apenguin from New Zealand that washed up on a beach in Australia, after a journey of 1,550 miles, is about to start its trip home. On 10 July, the Fiordland penguin was found near the mouth of the Kennett River on the south-eastern coast of Australia, around 90 miles from the city of Melbourne.

Fiordland penguins rarely appear in Australia because it is usually too far for them to swim. They spend most of their time on New Zealand’s South Island and surroundin­g smaller islands. There are thought to be between 5,000 and 6,000 of them in the wild, and conservati­onists class the species as vulnerable.

The underweigh­t and exhausted penguin was taken to Melbourne Zoo where staff could look after it. At first, it was so ill that it could not eat, so keepers had to hand-feed it with a mixture of nutrients and liquids. As the penguin got better, however, it soon developed a huge appetite. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Melbourne Zoo’s head of veterinary services, Dr Michael Lynch, said, “Once it got going it really stacked on the weight. It’s quite amazing how much food it could pack down.”

Once the penguin reached its normal weight of around 3.5 kilograms, it was sent to Phillip Island Nature Park, a conservati­on area on an island close toMelbourn­e.Thereitwas­abletogetu­sedto swimming in a larger pool and could rebuild its muscles for the long journey home. Around eight weeks after it was rescued, vets decided that the penguin was fit enough to release. It has had a microchip fitted (like the ones used on pet cats and dogs), so researcher­s can identify it if it returns to New Zealand and is spotted there.

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 ??  ?? Melbourne New Zealand (South Island)
Returning to the water.
Melbourne New Zealand (South Island) Returning to the water.
 ??  ?? The penguin waddles free.
The penguin waddles free.

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