A penguin that apparently ended up about 1,800 miles off its intended course became the third member of its species in history to be found on a New Zealand beach.
Harry Singh posted videos to Facebook when he encountered an Adelie penguin wandering on a Christchurch-area beach.
The Kaikoura Wildlife Hospital said the young penguin, native to Antarctica, was fatigued and reluctant to return to the sea when it was found about 1,800 miles from home.
“The penguin is now in care at Christchurch Penguin Rehabilitation, which is managed by Thomas and Kristina Stracke, in conjunction with the South Island Wildlife Hospital,” Kaikoura Wildlife Hospital said in a Facebook post.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation said the penguin was given a health check-up and released in the Banks Peninsula area in the hopes that it would be able to find its way back home.
David Ainley, an ecologist and expert on Adelie penguins, said members of the species are known to travel far when they are outside of their breeding season, but it was unusual for one of the birds to show up in New Zealand.
“More than likely there are quite a few more that stray away from the sea ice that rings Antarctica, but don’t get near to civilization,” Ainely told USA Today.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation said the visitor, dubbed Pingu by locals, was only the third Adelei penguin known to have visited New Zealand.