A young emperor penguin has been spotted on the western coast of New Zealand's North Island at Peka Peka Beach. The penguin's native Antarctica lies thousands of miles away.
It is the first time since 1967 that the aquatic bird has been seen as far north as New Zealand. The penguin was first spotted on Monday evening by a woman walking her dog. The resident, Christine Wilton from the Kapiti coast said: “I saw this glistening white thing standing up and I thought I was seeing things. It was out of this world to see it, like someone just dropped it from the sky.”
Marine wildlife experts believe the penguin would have been searching for krill and squid and got lost and swam in the wrong direction, reports Yahoo news. The penguin appears to be around ten-months-old and stands 32-inches tall. Environmentalists believe the young penguin, who appears to be physically in good shape, will need to get back to the Antarctic if it is to survive. It has already been seen eating sand, reports timeslive.
Emperor penguins generally scoff snow as this is their only source of fresh water. New Zealand is in the very beginnings of its winter season but it is hoped the penguin will swim back out to sea soon and begin its arduous journey home. Generally the emperor penguin is a very hardy bird, as seen in the 2005 film documentary, March of the Penguins.
In the meantime the New Zealand Department of Conservation have asked people to stand at least ten meters away from the penguin and not to allow their dogs near the bird.