Antarctic penguin takes wrong turn to NZ

By AAP and AG staff 22 June 2011
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A young emperor penguin has taken a big wrong turn to end up on a New Zealand beach.

A YOUNG EMPEROR PENGUIN has taken a rare wrong turn and ended up stranded on a New Zealand beach.

Emperor penguins typically spend their entire lives in Antarctica and almost never make landfall near humans. It has been 44 years since a wild Emperor penguin was last sighted in New Zealand.

Conservation experts say the penguin is about 10 months old, and stands about 80cm high. It likely took to the water several months ago to search for squid and krill and lost its way.

Experts say the bird is healthy but will need to find its way back south if it is to survive.

A resident discovered the bird while walking her dog on Monday evening at Peka Peka Beach on the southwest coast of the North Island, 60km north of Wellington.

officer Clint Purchas inspecting an Emperor penguin
in New Zealand, some 3000km from his Antarctic home
(AFP Photo/HO/Department of Conservation NZ)