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Lost Penguin Rescued By Wildlife Rehab — 100s Of Miles From Home!

tawaki penguin release

Tawaki penguins live on the beaches of New Zealand… That is, they’re supposed to! That’s why it was quite an unusual sight when one ended up on a beach in Victoria, Australia. 

The tawaki penguin is a rare and endangered species, also known as the Fiordland penguin. The bird was incredibly weak and dehydrated when they were found on the beach. Thankfully, Mosswood Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre took them in and set to work nursing them back to health. 

tawaki penguin in care

Tracey Wilson, a volunteer wildlife caretaker, worked tirelessly with her team to nurse the bird back to health, providing them with fluids, tube feeding, and carefully monitoring. The penguin’s recovery required multiple daily feeds, pool rehabilitation sessions, and even building artificial caves to create a comfortable environment for their recovery.

Despite the amount of time and effort required, Tracy expressed delight at caring for the penguin.

“They are awesome. I believe caring for any wildlife is a privilege, but being able to care for these guys is super special,” she said. 

This winter, Tracey has cared for not just one, but two tawaki penguins at the Mosswood Centre. The Melbourne Zoo’s Marine Response Unit has also observed an increase in Tawaki penguin sightings, with some requiring intervention and rehabilitation.

tawaki penguin at wildlife rehab

Once the penguin had fully recovered, it was time to return them to the ocean and let them make the journey back to their home waters. Tracey transported the bird back to the beach it was found on for release. 

The penguin seemed hesitant to return to the ocean, lingering near their rescuer’s feet for some time while observing their surroundings. Tracey walked a bit closer to the water to encourage the bird to make their way. After a bit of time, the penguin made their way to the water and swam off to sea.

As you might expect, Tracey was worried for the bird’s welfare but excited for the opportunity to return them to the wild.

“We’ve done the absolute best we can do,” Tracey notes.  

tawaki penguin release

Though this tawaki penguin has a long journey back home, they had a second chance at survival thanks to the watchful eye of the public and the care of Mosswood Wildlife Rescue. If you encounter distressed or injured wildlife, always reach out to your closest wildlife rehabilitation center for guidance, and never approach or disturb wild animals unless directly instructed to do so by a professional! 

You can see footage of the penguin’s release as well as more about their story below:

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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