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Wellington's royal penguin passes away

Friday 22 Feb 2013 9:53 a.m.

(Photo: Lloyd Burr/3 News)

(Photo: Lloyd Burr/3 News)

The critically ill royal penguin being looked after by Wellington Zoo has died overnight.

It had been suffering from starvation, dehydration and kidney failure, and zoo staff had only given it a 20 to 30 percent chance of survival.

“As the penguin arrived nearly 3kg underweight it had absolutely no reserves, and subsequently we suspect that this lead to multiple organ failure, following the kidney failure diagnosed on its arrival” said Dr Lisa Argilla, Manager of Veterinary Science at Wellington Zoo.

“Wildlife medicine is a very challenging field and though we did the best we could, sadly the penguin didn’t survive.”

The penguin was found on Sunday by a member of the public at Tora beach in the Wairarapa, north of Wellington, and was thought to have come ashore to moult. Dr Argilla said she suspected it had been having trouble finding enough food at sea.

It was only the fourth confirmed sighting of a royal penguin in the North Island.

The species is normally found on Macquarie Island, more than 2,000 kilometres south of Wellington.

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