Penguin Prepares For Epic Swim Home

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.

Katrina is back in the water and swimming in preparation for her swim home.

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