Happy Feet penguin goes missing, possibly eaten

It was only a little over a week ago that Happy Feet, the internationally famous emperor penguin, was released back into the wild after he was found wandering about the shores of New Zealand in June. Researchers spent a considerable amount of time and money nursing Happy Feet back to health, but it may have all been in vain.

The transmitter that was attached – or, to be specific, super glued – to Happy Feet, which was designed to transmit a signal every time it broke the ocean’s surface, has stopped sending transmissions. This has lead some to believe that the transmitter could have fallen off – or that Happy Feet was eaten by a shark or a whale.

Happy Feet was on a journey back home to Antartica after being released from New Zealand earlier this month. When the emperor penguin was originally found in New Zealand, he was found to be exhausted and, after extensive medical procedures – about $30,000 worth, reportedly – it was discovered he had eaten sand, apparently mistaking it for snow.

After specialists successfully nursed Happy Feet back to health, Sirtrack, a company specializing in wildlife tracking, fitted Happy Feet with a tracker, intending to allow people at home to follow Happy Feet on his journey back home.

Despite the grim outlook for Happy Feet, Kevin Lay, of Sirtrack, remains hopeful. He said:

“There are some species that will forage on emperor penguins. It’s not likely that it has happened to Happy Feet because of the area he was in.”

The firm responsible for tracking Happy Feet posted this final message over on their website:

“Finally, as we expect many people are, the team at Sirtrack are disappointed that we are unable to track Happy Feet’s progress any further. We have enjoyed being part of this project and hope that Happy Feet is making his way home.”

via The Guardian