Young Emperor Penguin Makes a Rare Wrong Turn

Photo: Enzofloyd / cc

Few animals are as skilled at finding their way home as Emperor penguins, but still one young bird has managed to get a long way off course. For the first time in over four decades, a member of the iconic Antarctic species has turned up on a beach in New Zealand, apparently after a several month journey at sea in pursuit of food. And while it certainly makes for a curious sight for locals, for the bird to survive it will have to find its way across many miles of ocean, back to where it belongs.According to a report from The Telegraph, the wayward penguin was discovered on the north-western coast of New Zealand by beachgoers -- a particularly rare sight. It's been 44 years since a wild Emperor penguin had been found to have ended up on the island, hundreds of miles from its native stomping grounds in Antarctica.

The penguin is said to be a juvenile around 10 months old, which may help explain how it lost its way while so many others seem to find their way home with little problem.


From The Telegraph:

Colin Miskelly, a curator at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, said the bird may have been searching for squid and krill when it took a wrong turn.

Miskelly said Emperor penguins can spend months at a time in the ocean.

He added the penguin appeared healthy and well-fed, with plenty of body fat, and probably came ashore for a rest.

But if enduring the many miles it took to get to New Zealand was hard enough, the young Emperor penguin's fate may rest upon whether he can make it a round-trip journey. Miskelly says that the penguin must eventually leave his current resting place and return to Antarctica if it is to stand any chance of survival.

Here's to hoping the adventurous young penguin has a safe journey home.

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Tags: Antarctica | Birds