Friday, February 22, 2013

Penguin found stranded on New Zealand beach dies

(AP) – 12 hours ago
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A royal penguin found stranded on a New Zealand beach has died.

The penguin was found Sunday by hikers. It was emaciated and suffering kidney failure and was taken to the Wellington Zoo.

It was just the fourth time over the past 100 years that a royal penguin has been found on the North Island of New Zealand. They generally live more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away around Macquarie Island, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica.

Lisa Argilla, the veterinary science manager at the zoo, said Friday that they suspect the penguin suffered multiple organ failure. It was severely underweight, she said, and had no reserves.
She said the zoo did the best it could.

The penguin's arrival has revived memories of another penguin, an emperor nicknamed Happy Feet, that arrived in 2011 and whose recovery at the zoo captured the hearts of many before he was released.

Royal penguins have a yellow crest, eat krill and squid and generally live on and around Macquarie Island, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica.

Jenny Boyne, who lives near Tora Beach where the penguin was found, said she drove it to the zoo in a fish crate after staff suggested she bring it in.

"It sat down like a little quiet lamb," she said.

The bird stood up briefly a couple of times and honked but generally lay still for the two-hour journey, she said. She blasted the air conditioning and spritzed the bird with water after zoo staff instructed her to keep it cool. She said she was surprised it had no significant smell.

Argilla said the penguin weighed about 2.7 kilograms (6 pounds) when it arrived.

The penguin was about 1 year old, 50 centimeters (20 inches) long and its sex had not been determined, Argilla said.

Royal penguins can grow to about 75 centimeters (30 inches) and 5.5 kilograms (12 pounds). They are considered a threatened species but not endangered. They shed all their feathers during an annual molt, which the New Zealand penguin had been doing when found.

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