‘Happy Feet’, the lost Emperor penguin who became a worldwide celebrity after he washed up on a New Zealand beach was released back into the Southern Ocean on Sunday to begin a long swim home to Antarctica.
'It's an indescribable feeling to see a patient finally set free. It's definitely the best part of the job,' said veterinary surgeon Lisa Argilla who treated the penguin after he was found emaciated and near death in late June.
The emperor penguin, dubbed Happy Feet, was released into the water from the New Zealand fisheries vessel Tangaroa near Campbell Island, about 700km south of New Zealand's South Island.
His home in Antarctica is about 2,000km further south and it is expected he will join up with other emperor penguins on the long voyage.