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Penguin found in New Zealand to return home

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A baby penguin

© Rex Features / NTI Media Ltd.

The Emporer penguin that ended up on a New Zealand beach is returning back to his native Antarctica.

Named 'Happy Feet', the penguin was first found in June on the Kapiti Coast, located on the North Island of New Zealand.

Happy Feet successfully underwent surgery on his stomach after he ate 3kg of sand, apparently mistaking it for snow, reports the BBC.

His recovery was complicated after falling ill, but he was eventually nursed back to health.

The penguin had been staying at the Wellington Zoo, and a vet there said: "Everyone's been really curious to see what happens. It was touch-and-go there for a while but he's doing really well now."

Happy Feet departed from New Zealand on Monday and is being carried on Tangaroa, a fisheries survey vessel, for four days. A tracking device has also been fitted on him.

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