Rescuers fear unhappy ending for Happy Feet
Tuesday 13 September 2011
The heart-rending tale of the Emperor Penguin who was saved after being washed up in New Zealand and released back into the Southern Ocean may not have had a happy ending after all.
The scientists who released Happy Feet, named after the animated movie, fear that he may have fallen foul of predators.
Concerns for his safety were growing last night after scientists lost contact with the tracking device attached to the bird. Sirtrack, the firm monitoring the transmitter, said no signals had been picked up since Friday.
Engineers said the transmitter had either detached itself from the penguin or an "unknown event" had prevented him resurfacing.
The company conceded that the bird might have been eaten. "That's what makes the world go round," a spokesman told the New Zealand Herald.
Happy Feet was found in a critical condition on New Zealand's north island. Nursed back to health he was released last week.
Since then he has made erratic progress in a number of directions, according to the satellite tracker which lost contact four days ago. It is also possible that Happy Feet might have been submerged when the satellites passed overhead.
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