Return to the Icy Wild
Happy Feet, the “lost” emperor penguin which washed up on the Kapiti Coast, has been returned to the ocean; a BBC article examines how he and other animals are released back into the wild. The plight of an injured wild animal is always poignant. But sometimes there’s a happy ending — a creature nurtured back to health by humans and then released into the wild. Such is the case with Happy Feet. Happy Feet would have been fed with tubes and given antifungals and antibiotics, says Romain Pizzi, a veterinary surgeon at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Once he’d recovered, he swam in salt water cooled to C. Such a test would show whether he was too thin for cold water and if his feathers were waterproof. Pizzi says Happy Feet has made an “impressive” recovery. “He must have been very ill.” The key thing is to understand the skills the animal needs to survive in the wild. And then to try and impart those skills to the creature before setting it free.