Penguin Gets Really, Really Lost

2,000-mile swim lands bird in New Zealand


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Penguins, birds that regularly migrate more than 3,000 miles in the dark of winter, are among the more directionally competent animals in the world. That makes news that an emperor penguin has surfaced in New Zealand, 2,000 miles from its home in Antarctica, all the more puzzling. Biologists think the penguin was searching for food off the Antarctic coast when it became disoriented and headed north to New Zealand, a country that hasn’t had a penguin sighting in 44 years. Most penguins eat sparingly, and the New Zealand bird appears well fed. For now, officials from the New Zealand Department of Conservation are hoping it finds its own way to Antarctica. The department has no plans to ship it back: First, Antarctica is totally dark, making travel to the region dangerous. Second, the penguin’s journey through warm water may have exposed it to disease. Scientists don’t want to be responsible if it brings something nasty back home.

Read more at The Associated Press