The Penguin Post has learned that an intrepid Fiordland penguin that swam 2000 miles to Australia will soon be joined in her recovery at an animal rescue sanctuary by another wayfaring New Zealander – a seal pup. Animal sanctuary boss Aaron Machado said 2-year-old penguin Katrina, who has been recovering at the sanctuary in South Australia since washing up injured on a beach five weeks ago, was unlikely to welcome the new roommate in the 2000 square foot wetland enclosure. “She’ll be pissed off that I’ve put that ‘wet dog’ in there. She’s the queen of that place, she’s the boss.” The seal, named Emma, was recovering after surgery to remove rocks from her stomach, Machado said. “We’re getting overtaken by New Zealanders.” It was not unusual for New Zealand seals to be seen in Australian waters, he said. Katrina was making good progress, rebuilding muscles and tipping the scales at 7 just over pounds, almost double her rescued weight. “She’s still a grumpy little snot, but we love her anyway.” Staff were waiting a couple more weeks for Katrina’s feathers to grow back after surgery on a large gash to her abdomen. Once she was waterproof, she could be released into the wild. The signs were good so far, Machado said. He still wanted Katrina flown back to New Zealand, despite comments by Michelle Gutsell, Department of Conservation Te Anau office species recovery team leader, that the penguin had a good chance of making it under her own steam. But Machado worried current and wind conditions could push Katrina back to shore. Australian zoos were keen to secure Katrina, but he was determined to stop that happening. “We just want to get this penguin back where she belongs.”
Posts Tagged ‘Katrina’
The intrepid Fiordland penguin who swam 2000 miles to Australia will have to repeat the feat if she wants to get home, with the Australian Department of Conservation saying plans to fly her back are unnecessary. Last week the Penguin Post reported that a feisty 2-year-old penguin named Katrina washed up on a beach near Mount Gambier, South Australia. Bird rescue worker Aaron Machado, who is rehabilitating Katrina, was fighting suggestions she be put in a zoo for good and had wanted to fly her home. But Michelle Gutsell, leader of the Department of Conservation Te Anau office species recovery team, said Katrina had a good chance of making it back to New Zealand under her own steam. “She will have that homing instinct. These birds spend a lot of time in the water, they are sea-goers, that’s what they do. She will be fine.” While Machado had offered to pay for Katrina’s flight, Gutsell said she would rather see the money put towards other wildlife projects in Australia. Since the New Zealand penguin was found almost two weeks ago she’s had surgery on a large gash to her abdomen, and put on nearly 2 pounds so she now tips the scales at about 6 pounds. She has also enjoyed her first swim since the crossing, Machado said. She had also maintained her “feisty” attitude, he said. “She’s a grumpy little girl.” It would be at least a month, but likely longer, before she was ready for release, though he still preferred the idea of a flight home.
Many people from the Northern Hemisphere can’t tell the difference between a Kiwi (New Zealander) and an Aussie ( Australian), but trying telling that to the folks down under and their penguins. Presently, the Penguin Post has learned that a Fiordland penguin (native to New Zealand) is at the center of a custody dispute between the two nations after swimming 2000 miles to South Australia. Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organization manager Adam Machado said the penguin, dubbed Katrina, was spotted by locals after being washed up on the beach at Mount Gambier last Friday afternoon. The 2-year-old penguin, with distinctive yellow feather brows and white flecks under her wings, was rescued by a woman named Katrina and flown 350 miles to the rescue base on Torrens Island near Adelaide, Australia where she was treated for starvation, damaged fur and a deep gash to her abdomen. Australian authorities have been fighting over the penguin’s future after the Department for Environment and Natural Resources demanded she be transferred to a zoo and kept as a permanent exhibit animal. “They can go get stuffed,” said Machado. “We are not going to give her up to the zoo. Look at her home range – after swimming 2000 miles, they’re going to put her in a pool for the rest of her life. That is torturous.” Machado was seeking advice from the New Zealand Department of Conservation in Fiordland about whether they would release Katrina into the wild or fly her home. The Australian organization would pay for her $1000 flight home on top of the $280 rescue flight she had last week. They would also consider putting a tracking device on Katrina if released into the wild to ensure she made it past Tasmania’s seal-infested waters. He said Katrina was a sickly 1.7kg, almost half her body weight, and had the tendency to be snappy. “She has a good attitude, but she tries to be vicious,” Machado said. “She is one of the hardest (and hardiest) females I’ve had to deal with. She is about on par, if not better than, my wife,” he quipped. Katrina is presently on a heavy protein diet to gain back the pounds she needs and would be soon ready for her first swim, a week after being rescued.