Operation to perk up a penguin long way from home
Published 28/06/2011 | 05:00
A top New Zealand surgeon has carried out a two-hour operation to save the life of an emperor penguin that waddled ashore on a North Island beach.
The penguin became ill through hungrily gobbling sand and sticks after landing at Peka Peka Beach, almost 2,000 miles from its Antarctic homeland.
Dubbed 'Happy Feet' after the 2006 animated movie about penguins, the ailing bird was taken to Wellington Zoo, where John Wyeth, head of gastroenterology at the city's hospital, carried out an endoscopy on Monday.
During the procedure, a tiny camera was inserted into the penguin's stomach and detritus was hooked with a lasso.
Dr Wyeth said: "We've emptied about half the stomach and hopefully, with a bit of luck, the stomach will now start functioning of its own accord.
"I wasn't familiar with the anatomy. If I did a similar procedure in a human it would take me 10 minutes."
The penguin's gender will not be known until DNA results are analysed but it is said to be recovering well in a makeshift cooler room packed with party ice.
Laxatives are being considered to avoid further surgery. A panel of experts will now meet to consider the bird's fate. (© Daily Telegraph, London)