Posted on 27/08/2013 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
A New Zealand Fiordland penguin is set for a long distance swim across the Tasman today after its release from care at the Phillip Island Nature Parks Wildlife Shelter.
The Fiordland penguin, one of only 6000 left in the wild, was 1800 kilometres off course when found by rangers at a Wilson’s Promontory beach. He was severely underweight and transported to the Phillip Island Nature Parks Wildlife Shelter for care.
Wildlife Rehabilitation Officer Rosie Fennell said the unusual visitor spent three weeks at the Wildlife Clinic while rangers monitored its condition and attempted to get it back to a healthy weight for release into the wild.
“He weighed only 1.58kg when he first came to us. A healthy Fiordland penguin weighs 3 to 5kgs,” Fennell said.
“Needless to say he was eager for his daily feeds and yesterday’s final swim tests indicated he was fit enough to make the journey home.”
Despite being a long way from its New Zealand breeding grounds, the penguin’s homing instincts will play a role in getting him back on course.
“These penguins spend a lot of time in the water and can swim a fair distance in search of food.”
The penguin was released on Tuesday morning at the Penguin Parade beach on Phillip Island.
Wayward penguin homeward bound 270813
Ms Danene Jones - Communications Executive
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