Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Not so Happy Feet
An Emperor Penguin arrived in New Zealand last week, and was seen wandering along a beach on the Kapiti coast, about 50km North of Wellington.
Normally, Emperor Penguins live in Antarctica and this is the first time in years that one has been spotted in New Zealand.
The bird had to swim over 4000km to get here.
Once here it must have felt a bit overwhelmed at our balmy 15° C winter weather, because it started to eat sand.
Seemingly in its native habitat, the penguins eat snow and ice to help adjust their body temperature, and this dozy sod got confused. Probably never having seen sand before, and only expecting snow as a normal beach covering, it gobbled up sand. It ate so much that it fell sick, and had to be taken to Wellington Zoo, where the vets and staff tried to pump out the ingested sand before it set too firmly in its guts.
The operation seemed partly successful, and although further treatment may be required, the staff were cautiously optimistic regarding the penguins prognosis.
One of our leading millionaire philanthropists, Gareth Morgan, is taking a research vessel down to Antarctica next month, and has offered the services of the ex-Russian ice breaker to transport "Happy Feet" (as the poor thing has been christened as if it didn't have enough troubles) back to its native habitat, provisions of the Antarctic Treaty allowing.
Why did the penguin swim the 4000 km to New Zealand's shores?
Does it have a really bad sense of direction and took a right turn at Cape Crozier instead of a left turn?
Did it really fancy a steak and cheese pie with a glass of Tui (beer)?
Does it want to emigrate from the all-white Antarctica to rainbow multi-cultural New Zealand?
Did it have a falling out with it's in-laws/wife/relatives and had to get away for a while?
I don't think it's any of these.
I think it swam the 4000 km just to get away from the horrific Antarctic winter.
It just wanted to get away from the howling blizzards, the short days, the grey skies and the ball-freezing temperatures.(-40° C)
It just wanted to feel some sun on its skin, and a warm breeze ruffle its feathers.
Can you possibly imagine how the poor bloody thing will feel next month?
"Hmm, I wonder where these humans are taking me?"
"They've been awfully nice, and given me plenty of fish"
"Oh, there's a big thing floating on the water, I think they call it a ship"
"Oh they're putting me on board the ship, I wander if I'm going on a cruise?
"I wonder if it'll be even warmer than this, it's so hot I feel a little sick, but anything's better than freezing my feet off"
"Back to f*cking Antarctica?"
"Do you bastards know how long I swam to get away from that place?"
"I hate the f*cking cold"
"DO NOT SEND ME BACK YOU USELESS DRONGOS"
"That penguin seems a bit excited" said one stevedore to another.
"Yeah mate, wouldn't you be excited to be going home?" replied his colleague.
"Suppose so, but it's getting really fractious, waving it's little stubby wings and almost jumping up and down"
"Probably having a good stretch before the trip"
"Yeah, probably" "Where are we putting the cage?" he asked.
"In the deep freeze container, so we can get it nice and cold before we release it." "Oh, look" "It's getting even more excited now"
"They're so cute, just like Nuns"