| NIWA staff with Happy Feet + zoo interview - extended footage |
By Lloyd Burr
It was a new crew that fed the beloved emperor penguin Happy Feet today as final preparations are made for his return to the wild on Monday.
NIWA staff, who will look after him on his voyage to the sub-Antarctic, got some hands on experience this afternoon as they were taught how to feed the refugee penguin by Wellington Zoo staff.
Click on the video tab to watch extended footage of NIWA staff feeding Happy Feet and an interview with Wellington Zoo's Dr Lisa Argilla
He heads away on Monday on NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa and will be released four days later at 51 degrees south near Campbell Island.
Wellington Zoo's manager of veterinary science Dr Lisa Argilla will accompany Happy Feet on his journey home.
She will be assisted by two NIWA staff who were being trained today to feed and care for the penguin before the voyage departs
The construction of a special travel enclosure, where Happy Feet will spend his four days on the ship, is nearly complete.
Happy Feet was found on Peka Peka Beach north of Wellington in June and Wellington Zoo took him in after he started eating sand and sticks.
While the media are not allowed to join Happy Feet on his voyage, he will be fitted with a GPS tracker - so fans will still be able to keep track of the penguin's progress.