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Emperor Penguin

The emperor penguin washed up on a beach just outside the New Zealand capital Wellington in June 2011, very weak, emaciated and 3,000 kilometres (1,900 miles) away from his Antarctic colony where he calls home. This wayward bird's unexpected arrival stunned wildlife experts, he was the second emperor penguin to be recorded in New Zealand history,  captivating  the public, which closely followed every turn for his struggle for survival.

After being fattened up on a diet of fish milkshakes and escorted by his own personal veterinary team, the world's most famous emperor penguin, Happy Feet, sets sail for the icy Antarctic waters The level of interest has been incredible, not just in Wellington or New Zealand, but around the world, everyone's been really curious to see what happens.

Initially, Wellington Zoo's vets hoped the  emperor penguin would swim back to the Southern Ocean, but when he became ill after eating sand and sticks in a bid to cool down, it was obvious he would die without human intervention.

Happy Feet, named after the animated feature about a tap-dancing emperor chick, was rushed to Wellington Zoo's animal hospital, where a surgeon performed an endoscopy to clear sand and sticks from his gut.

It was touch-and-go there for a while but he's doing really well and now housed in an air-conditioned room with a regularly replenished bed of ice to simulate Antarctic conditions and has responded well to a diet of fish milkshakes consisting of pulverised salmon fillets and putting on weight at a healthy 27.5 kilograms (60.5 pounds).

Happy Feet has become a wildlife celebrity during his time in rehabilitation, attracting global media interest and inspiring plans for a book and documentary recounting his journey.

New Zealand Prime Minister also set aside business matters to wish the emperor penguin well, actor Stephen Fry, in Wellington to film "The Hobbit", visited Happy Feet in his sub-zero living quarters.

Attendances at Wellington Zoo have almost doubled, even though Happy Feet has not been on display.

happy Feet The Emperor Penguin
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