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Lost penguin Happy Feet freed south of New Zealand

4 September 2011 Last updated at 17:52 BST

A lost emperor penguin who washed up on a New Zealand beach in June has been released back into the Southern Ocean to begin its swim home to Antarctica.

Nicknamed Happy Feet, he was released from the research vessel Tangaroa on Sunday morning about 50 miles (80km) north of the remote Campbell Island.

He was returned to the wild after recovering from surgery to remove 3kg (6.6lb) of sand from his stomach.

Last week, hundreds of people visited Wellington Zoo to bid farewell to him.

Dominic Kane reports.