Lost Antarctic penguin dies in New Zealand zoo

Wellington Zoo vet Lisa Argilla with the penguin. 21 Feb 2013 Wellington Zoo vet Lisa Argilla said the penguin was too exhausted to survive

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A Royal penguin found stranded on a New Zealand beach 2,000km (1,200 miles) from its Antarctic home has died.

Lisa Argilla, a vet at Wellington Zoo, said they suspected it had suffered multiple organ failure.

The bird, which was dehydrated and starving, is thought to be only the fourth Royal penguin to wash up there in more than a century.

Its discovery revived memories of another penguin, an Emperor nicknamed Happy Feet, that arrived in 2011.

Vets said the latest arrival - dubbed Happy Feet Jr - may have been drifting for a year.

It was found on Tora Beach, south of Wellington, last Sunday.

"As the penguin arrived nearly 3kg (6.6lb) underweight, it had absolutely no reserves and subsequently we suspect that this led to multiple organ failure, following the kidney failure diagnosed on its arrival," Ms Argilla said.

"Wildlife medicine is a very challenging field and though we did the best we could, sadly the penguin didn't survive."

Jenny Boyne, who lives near Tora Beach, told how she drove the penguin to the zoo in a fish crate after staff suggested she bring it in.

"It sat down like a little quiet lamb," she said.

Ms Boyne said the bird had stood up a couple of times and honked, but mostly lay still for the two-hour journey.

The original Happy Feet made headlines when he appeared on New Zealand's shores, receiving visits from celebrities including Stephen Fry and best wishes from New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

The bird had surgery to remove sand from its stomach - which it is thought to have eaten thinking it was snow - before being released with a tracking device.

However, Happy Feet later disappeared and it is feared he may have been eaten by a shark.

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