The Adelie penguin, nicknamed the Pingu by the locals, has incredibly made it from Antarctica to the coast of New Zealand where it was spotted by a fearful couple
More than 1,800 miles from home, a lost penguin was found that was originally mistaken for a stuffed animal.
Incredibly, the Adelie penguin, nicknamed the Pingu by locals, has made it from Antarctica to the coast of New Zealand where it was spotted by a concerned couple.
Pingu was underweight and dehydrated, which forced the doctors to put him through a feeding tube.
Harry Singh, who spotted the penguin on Birdlings Flat Beach, south of Christchurch, said he initially thought it was a stuffed animal – and didn’t move for an hour.
Mr Singh told the BBC: “At first I thought it (was) a stuffed animal, suddenly the penguin moved its head so I realized it was real.”
He was walking his wife when he spotted Pingu and was concerned that he might become a target for other animals after his long journey.
He said, “We didn’t want it to end up in a dog or a cat’s stomach.”
Mr Singh called penguin experts who were amazed to find that pingu was so far from its natural habitat.
After being nursed back to health, Pingu is expected to be released to a nearby beach that does not allow dogs.
It is only the third time an Adelie penguin has been found in New Zealand, with previous cases dating back to 1993 and 1962.
Experts will work to find out if the latest case is the result of worrying ocean changes.
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Zoology professor Philip Seddon at Otago University said The Guardian : “All penguin species are like sea guards … if they are bad, they give us an early signal – canaries in coal mines – an early signal that things are not going well.”
He continued, “I think if we started arriving annually Adelie penguins we would actually go, something has changed in the ocean that we need to understand.
“Further studies will give us a better understanding of where penguins go, what they are doing, what population trends are – they will tell us something about the health of this marine ecosystem in general.”