Royal Penguin Found 1,200 Miles From Home Struggles To Survive

New Zealand

A royal penguin rescued more than 1,200 miles from its sub-Antarctic home is now struggling to survive.

A pair of hikers discovered the penguin last weekend stranded on a beach in New Zealand, where it is believed the small creature had washed ashore. Found in extremely poor health, the penguin was taken to the Wellington Zoo where veterinarians are fighting to keep the animal alive.

According to The Associated Press, royal penguins typically live close to Macquarie Island, an area situated between New Zealand and Antarctica. Experts think the penguin found on Sunday most likely became caught in a current that carried it miles from its habitat.

Nearby resident Jenny Boyne rushed the ill royal penguin to Wellington at the suggestion of New Zealand zoo officials. She generously made the two hour trip, gently placing the sweet creature inside a fish crate in her car.

She remarked on how the royal penguin cooperated during the journey:

“It sat down like a little quiet lamb.”

Newser writes that staff from the Wellington Zoo, alarmed at the royal penguin’s poor health, are now providing critical treatment to help it survive. A staff member explained its condition:

“He’s in terrible condition, absolutely emaciated with his kidneys not functioning. Hopefully we can reverse that, feed him up, and bring him back to good health, but it’s touch and go at the moment.”

The zoo has nicknamed the one-year-old royal penguin “Happy Feet Junior.” The moniker is in reference to a similar penguin who gained international attention when it washed ashore in 2011.