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TV station turns penguin into Internet star

Thursday 04 Aug 2011
A New Zealand television station has helped turn a lost penguin into an Internet star, Fox News reports.

The wayward emperor penguin, nicknamed Happy Feet, was discovered on a beach 65 kilometres north of Wellington six weeks ago, far from his Antarctic feedings grounds.

He was moved to Wellington Zoo four days later and will be released into the wild.

Local TV station TV3 set up a webcam in the small, ice-filled room at the zoo where he has been recuperating. More than 120,000 visitors have already logged on to the webcam.

Gordon McBride, TV3’s Wellington bureau chief, said he and a colleague came up with the idea of the webcam.

“When we asked the zoo, they said ‘Yep, why not,'” Mr McBride said. “It’s such an unusual thing, and people like to see that.”

It’s expected thousands more will follow his progress after he is released in the coming weeks, when feeds from a GPS tracker unit attached to his back will be posted online.

Zoo spokesperson Kate Baker said that as a result of the “great response” to the webcam, the zoo was now considering live streaming other animals and the zoo’s medical procedures.

Happy Feet’s webcam: Click here