Penguin may get monument in New Zealand

Sept. 13, 2011 at 8:37 PM

PEKA PEKA, New Zealand, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Workers at a New Zealand nature preserve where a confused emperor penguin washed ashore in June say they want to erect a sign at the beach to honor the bird.

The penguin, dubbed Happy Feet, was released back into the wild closer to its home in the Southern Ocean Sept. 4, and the Nga Manu Nature Reserve is petitioning for a monument, the Kapiti Observer in New Zealand reported Tuesday.

Nga Manu Manager Bruce Benseman has applied to the Waikanae Community Board for $600 to erect a sign marking the spot where Happy Feet washed ashore in Peka Peka. He pointed out that an emperor penguin has visited New Zealand only one other time, 44 years ago.

"It is therefore a rare and special occurrence and worth memorializing," he said.

The sign would give visitors to the beach information on whom to contact if they discover stranded wildlife.

Happy Feet was found in ill health at a beach in Peka Peka after swallowing sand and sticks, and spent two months recovering at the Wellington Zoo after being released into the wild.

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