24 June 2011
An emperor penguin from the Antarctic ended up stranded on a beach in New Zealand. It was the first sighting of the species in the wild there for more than 40 years.
Click to hear the report
Misdirected penguins are the stuff of fiction; the animated musical Happy Feet and the Ukrainian satire Death and the Penguin both feature large aquatic birds who've strayed far from home.
And a woman out walking her dog on New Zealand's North Island said she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw what she described as a "glistening white thing" standing on the beach.
It turned out to be a juvenile emperor penguin, about a metre tall, and 3,000 kilometres from its base in Antarctica after taking a wrong turn.
No such bird has made that journey for more than 40 years. Conservationists are baffled and concerned. One penguin expert was quoted as saying that although the bird was healthy, it had been eating wet sand, having mistaken it for snow.
The New Zealand winter is too warm for an emperor penguin, and it's thought it'll soon need to find its way back south if it's to survive.
Vivien Marsh, BBC News
Click to hear the vocabulary
to have not taken the expected or intended route
- are the stuff of fiction
exist in films and books but not usually in reality
travelled a long way in the wrong direction
- she couldn’t believe her eyes
she was very surprised by what she saw
sparkling and bright
young, not yet an adult
- taking a wrong turn
going in the wrong direction
confused, perplexed, puzzled
- was quoted as saying
had his words reported
- having mistaken it for
thinking wrongly that it was