Injured little blue penguin returns to wild in Hawke's Bay

10:11 am on 9 January 2021

A little blue penguin is back in the wild after recovering from serious injuries.

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(file pic) Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In August, the female penguin was spotted at Ocean Beach in Hawke's Bay with a fractured and swollen flipper.

She was dehydrated and had lost a lot of weight.

The penguin was brought to the National Aquarium in Napier, who sent her to Wildbase Hospital at Massey University in Palmerston North.

The injured flipper took four weeks to heal after an operation there.

She has since been rehabilitating in a nesting box at a sanctuary by Napier Port and can go back out to sleep when she is ready.

However, there is concern that warmer than usual waters are endangering young penguins this summer.

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll said baby penguins had been seen coming ashore across northern parts of the country including the Coromandel Peninsula and Waiheke Island.

"As we enter the new year, things have started to heat back up once again in the air and also in our surrounding seas," he said. "So right now we're sitting a little bit above average for the time of year."

He said if the water near shore was too warm, then the fish which the penguins feed on swim on to deeper waters.

Water temperatures are expected to continue to climb over the next week or two.

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