Happy Feet's press conference on NIWA's ship
29-Aug 16:44
Happy Feet has left the comforts of Wellington Zoo and is now onboard NIWA's ship Tangaroa

By Frances Cook

Those involved with Happy Feet’s journey took the time to express their excitement during a press conference held on the bridge of the Tangaroa today.

The trip was made possible when NIWA offered to let Happy Feet catch a ride on their ship, New Zealand’s most sophisticated and largest research vessel.

NIWA chief executive John Morgan says they are delighted to help, and the already-planned trip to survey fish stocks in Campbell Island is good timing.

“I don’t think we’ve had a passenger as famous as Happy Feet on board before, so I’m sure he’ll be well looked after,” Mr Morgan says

Wellington Zoo chief executive Karen Fifield says the penguin’s visit allowed the staff the chance to learn more about penguins and create a bond with the community.

“We have a bittersweet moment, I think, for the zoo because we are a bit sad to see Happy Feet go … but we’re also very happy about the fact that he can go back to Antarctica,” Ms Fifield says

“He can be a penguin again in the waters of the Southern Ocean.”

Zoo’s veterinary science manager Lisa Argilla says now Happy Feet has regained his strength he’s become stroppy and started giving them attitude.

“He’s pretty cool when you open the door as well, and he kind of talks to you a little with his head,” Dr Argilla says.

“I think it’s more him trying to tell us to get lost, but yeah, he does try to interact with us, which is awesome.”

Click on the video tab to watch the full press conference.

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