Happy Feet may be leaving New Zealand shores as early as next month.
The emperor penguin has been cared for at the Wellington Zoo since it was found on Peka Peka Beach last month.
Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker told the Herald last night that Happy Feet could be returned to the Southern Ocean as early as next month.
"It's looking like it will be about mid to late August. Right now we're just figuring out how we will release him," she said.
Ms Baker said the penguin was doing better and better each day and had gained 1.6kg when he was weighed on Friday.
He is about 24kg now, she said.
"At this stage, we're still taking care of him, obviously. He's continuing to gain weight and is looking good."
More than 600 broad-billed prion birds are being cared for at the zoo.
The injured birds are among hundreds found on the country's beaches after a massive storm last week.
Therefore Happy Feet was no longer the only bird in the spotlight, Ms Baker said.
"He's still a favourite with staff, though."
The zoo is still receiving donations from the public for the Happy Feet appeal.