9:37 AM PST, November 12, 2021
The Adélie penguin, nicknamed Pingu, traveled nearly 2,000 miles on its own when it hit the shores of New Zealand.
Pingu has been embraced by the locals after they say it looked lost wondering the shores of Christchurch in Birdlings Flat, on the southern island, NBC reported.
The penguin was spotted by resident Harry Sighn, who told NBC “I did not notice any physical injury, but it was tired and hungry.”
Sighn posted video of Pingu on social media Wednesday after spotting it and it has since gone viral.
The sex of the bird has yet to be determined but New Zealand’s Kaikoura Wildlife Hospital wrote on Facebook that the young penguin was fatigued and “reluctant to return to the sea.”
“Tests indicated the penguin was underweight and dehydrated,” the hospital said according to CBS News, adding that the penguin received “fluids and fish smoothies.”
Pingu is now in the care of Department of Conservation, where it is being sheltered from other animals and elements.
“We picked a south-facing bay with not too many visitors and no dogs,” Anita Spencer, senior ranger at the Department of Conservation, told the Australian Associated Press.
It is just the third time that na Adélie penguin has turned up on New Zealand’s shores, the most recent was in 1993. The first incident occurred in 1962, BBC reported.
Adélie penguins are commonly found on the coasts of Antarctica and are excellent swimmers, as they can travel up to 745 miles away from home, NBC News reported.