Helping hand for Happy Feet

By Jonathan Dine

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Liv Flynn of Napier with the penguin, nicknamed Happy Feet, which she has nursed back to health. Photo / Duncan Brown
Liv Flynn of Napier with the penguin, nicknamed Happy Feet, which she has nursed back to health. Photo / Duncan Brown

A penguin which just days ago could barely move is now scrambling around his pen in Napier, living up to his new nickname - Happy Feet.

Liv Flynn, a Department of Conservation volunteer and founder of the Hawke's Bay Bird and Wildlife Rescue, was brought the malnourished, juvenile penguin after a family saw her struggling to stand on the shores of Tangoio Beach last Friday.

"A couple and their son saw her struggling, unable to move her legs."

They picked up the ailing animal and took it to Ms Flynn.

"It didn't look like she was going to make it through the night," Ms Flynn said.

She said the little boy who found her was given the honour of naming him.

He decided to call the chick "Happy Feet" after the Warner Brothers animated movie.

She said she put Happy Feet on a feeding tube of vitamin supplements and just two months later she was walking again.

Happy Feet needed fluids put into her to flush her kidneys out and rehydrate her.

She required a syringe to eat fish and long periods of rehabilitation in the pool.

"She's come a long way, we were very surprised at how well she's done.

On first arrival Happy Feet was "severely underweight".

She has since put on about 500 grams thanks to Ms Flynn's care.

An aquarium worker estimated Happy Feet was about one year old.

She's a mixed breed blue penguin.

Although regularly brought hawks, swans and shags, this was the first penguin Ms Flynn had nursed.

Happy Feet will soon visit Massey University to undergo a blood test and ascertain if there was an underlying cause to her illness.

From there she will be taken into the care of the National Aquarium Napier before hopefully returning to Tangoio Beach.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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