A penguin now been dubbed ‘Pingu’ accidentally traveled 3,000 kilometers away from its natural habitat of Antarctica and was found on the shores of New Zealand, the BBC reported on Friday.
The Adélie penguin was found looking lost on the coast, with Harry Singh, the local resident who found him, first thinking he was a “soft toy” when he landed eyes on the bird with its distinctive dark and white plumage.
Mr Singh and his wife spotted the penguin when they were out walking on the beach at Birdlings Flat, which is south of the city of Christchurch.
“First I thought it (was) a soft toy, suddenly the penguin moved his head , so I realized it was real,” Mr Singh told the BBC.
Footage of the penguin posted on Mr Singh’s Facebook page showed the penguin waddling on the shore on its own.
“It did not move for one hour... and [looked] exhausted” Mr Singh said.
Mr Singh said that he called animal welfare officers as he was worried that the penguin was not getting into the water.
By wading on the shore, he was a potentially a target for other predatory animals on the beach.
“We did not want it to end up in a dog’s or cat’s stomach,” he said.
He eventually made contact Thomas Stracke, who has been rehabilitating penguins on New Zealand’s South Island for about 10 years.
Blood tests performed on Pingu – as the penguin has now affectionately been called - showed that it was slightly underweight and dehydrated.
It has since been given fluids and fed via a feeding tube.
The bird will eventually be released onto a safe beach on Banks Peninsula, which is free of dogs.
The discovery is only the third in history that an Adélie penguin has been found on New Zealand’s coasts.
Penguins are a group of aquatic flightless birds.
They live almost exclusively on the southern hemisphere.
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