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Last updated at 11:43 BST, Friday, 24 June 2011

Lost penguin reaches New Zealand


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.


Vivien Marsh

Emperor penguin on a New Zealand beach

The penguin was a very long way from its home in Antarctica


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

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