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Happy Feet finally heads home

a wayward emperor penguin who found himself in the media spotlight after washing up on a New Zealand beach thousands of miles off course is finally heading home.

Staff at Wellington Zoo, where the bird has been convalescing in recent months, wore black and white at a farewell party to send off their high-profile charge.

The bird, nicknamed Happy Feet, will leave today on a research ship heading south on a fishing survey, accompanied by a veterinarian and travelling in a specially designed crate.

He will be released four days into the voyage near the sub-Antarctic Campbell Island, where other juvenile emperor penguins are likely to be found. From there, it is hoped he can swim home to Antarctica.