The bird barely moved. Smith called a team from the Christchurch Penguin Sanctuary to prevent the animal from being attacked by predators. The team was extremely surprised to find an Adélie penguin. Penguins also live in New Zealand, but only of different species.
Until now, to our knowledge, an Adélie penguin had only been found in New Zealand in 1962 and 1993.
The animal, now affectionately referred to as Pingu by locals, was found to be dehydrated and hungry. “In fact, he wasn’t even that bad,” said a penguin rescuer. “We gave him a fish smoothie.” Then Pingu was released into a bay without a dog. The penguin team is hoping he can return home from there.
It is not known why the penguin has gone so far from home. According to New Zealand biologist Philip Seddon, it’s extremely rare. The animal may have swam too far from its colony and ended up in a Gulf Stream that carried it to New Zealand.
Penguin populations in Antarctica are under pressure. Due to climate change, sea ice behaves in unpredictable ways. This has benefits for Adélie penguins, who can now find food more easily in some places, but too much warming can disrupt this food supply.
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