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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Follow "Happy Feet" penguin back home to Antarctica

NZEmperor.com website tracks penguin's progress on journey home

The wayward emperor penguin who washed up on a New Zealand beach in late June began his journey back to Antarctica last Monday as a research vessel dropped him off closer to his Southern home.

Happy Feet has been fitted with a Sirtrack KiwiSat 202 Satellite Transmitter which will transmit signals to satellites twice a day for three hours. Transmissions from the KiwiSat 202 will allow us to monitor Happy Feet's position as he travels. Each new position will be plotted on the map so we can all follow his progress. It is not known which direction Happy Feet will travel, hopefully back to his home in the Antarctic, which makes this all the more fascinating and such a rare opportunity to learn about the movements of an amazing animal.

The KiwiSat 202 will be fitted to Happy Feet's feathers using glue and tape, a technique commonly and successfully used, by an experienced scientist and supervised by the experts at Wellington Zoo. The KiwiSat 202 weighs less than 100g, less than 1% of Happy Feet's body weight. It has been designed to be streamlined so it will not affect the penguin's swimming. To learn more about the Sirtrack KiwiSat 202 Satellite Transmitter click here

Since Happy Feet's arrival on Peka Peka Beach on June 21st 2011 he has been cared for by the team at Wellington Zoo, supported by the Department of Conservation and Dr. Colin Miskelly, Curator of terrestrial vertebrates at Te Papa.

The penguin gained the name from his similarity to a situation in the animated film "Happy Feet."

The Associated Press reports that the penguin was moved to a zoo after he confused sand for snow and became sick. Karen Fifield, Wellington Zoo's chief executive said, "He's brought a lot of hope and joy to people ... His story has driven to the heart of what makes us human."

Huffington Post article on penguin Happy Feet and tracking device

Happy Feet penguin - official website

Sources: NZEmperor.com, huffingtonpost.com

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