Endoscopy for penguin stranded in New Zealand
Monday 27 June 2011
An Antarctic penguin which ended up stranded and eating sand on a New Zealand beach is recovering after a very human treatment - an endoscopy.
Officials said it could be months before the young emperor penguin, which has been dubbed Happy Feet, recovers.
Experts guided a camera on a tube through the penguin's swollen intestines and flushed its stomach to remove the swallowed sand, which it had apparently mistaken for snow. Penguins eat snow to hydrate themselves.
Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said the penguin is now dining on fish slurry.
The bird arrived on Peka Peka Beach, about 40 miles (65km) north-west of Wellington last Monday, the first time in 44 years that an emperor penguin has been spotted in the wild in New Zealand.
Conservation official Peter Simpson said it could remain at the zoo for three more months while it recovers.
To ensure the health of its newest star, the zoo brought in Wellington Hospital specialist John Wyeth - who usually only operates only on humans - to help with the endoscopy procedure, New Zealand Press Association reported.
Today's operation went well, and doctors removed about half of the remaining sand and several twigs from the bird's digestive system, Ms Baker said .
An X-ray is scheduled for Wednesday, but medical staff hope the penguin will be able to pass naturally the rest of the debris blocking its system.
"It's positive news, but he's definitely not out of the woods yet," Ms Baker said.
The bird is being housed in a room at the zoo chilled to about 46F (8C), she added, and has a bed of ice to sleep on.
What's next for Happy Feet still remains to be decided.
Mr Simpson said he is meeting penguin experts at the zoo on Wednesday to consider options. He said it is not simply a matter of putting the penguin back into the ocean off New Zealand's coast.
"There's no great rush to decide," he said. "It will most likely need more medical work over the next three months."
Gareth Morgan, a New Zealand investment adviser, has offered to transport the penguin back to Antarctica next February when he leads an expedition to the southern continent. But Mr Simpson said that, while officials appreciate the offer, they may want to act before then.
Mr Simpson said the penguin may be older than experts first thought - perhaps up to two and a half years old rather than the initial estimate of 10 months. It stands about 3ft (80cm) tall.
Experts still do not know if it is a male or female, Mr Simpson said, although DNA samples should soon provide an answer.
Greenpeace comes to the aid of Britain's small fishing vessels
Frilled shark: Australian fishermen capture terrifying shark from the deep
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Brazil drought: It's a really dry January in the South American country, with rainfall is at its lowest level since 1930
The 10 best folding bikes
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...