Happy Feet is thriving onboard NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa, despite the rough sea conditions.

A statement from NIWA said he is on his feet in his specially-made crate, swaying backwards and forwards with the motion of the boat. He seems to be able to smell the Southern Ocean and is eager to get there.

Yesterday the crew made a special hydro-slide to help him get down the stern ramp when he is released.

"Depending on the weather and the progress Tangaroa makes overnight, the vessel is expected arrive at the release point (approximately 51S) tomorrow or Saturday. Then a decision will be made about when to farewell Happy Feet, depending on the weather conditions," the statement said.


NIWA said "He continues to show our team who is the boss when he's being fed by giving them a peck."

For daily updates from Tangaroa on Happy Feet's progress visit www.niwa.co.nz or www.wellingtonzoo.com