Saying goodbye to a rare penguin

Department of Conservation —  06/03/2018

This rare tawaki/Fiordland crested penguin was found last November, on the brink of death, lying on a beach near Haast.

Tawaki/Fiordland crested penguin. 📷: Anthony Behren.

Tawaki/Fiordland crested penguin. 📷: Anthony Behren

Swimming practice for the injured tawaki/Fiordland crested penguin.

Swimming practice.
📷: Wildbase

The penguin was barely able to move or stand and was taken to Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital in Palmerston North, where it was treated for a fractured leg and lacerated abdomen.

Leg surgery and a course of antibiotics saw this penguin on the mend, but despite recovering well, the penguin still wasn’t fit for release due to its annual moult — during this time they can’t swim or feed.

Once it had regrown its new feathers and got a bit of swimming practice under its wing, it was flown back to the West Coast (courtesy of Air New Zealand).

Last Thursday evening Senior Biodiversity Ranger Fiona Anderson, with help from son Hugo and volunteer Charlotte, released the rehabilitated penguin on Chesterfield Beach near Hokitika.

They made this charming story about the release…

Goodbye and good health to our rare penguin visitor!


Wildbase Hospital is New Zealand’s premier wildlife hospital. Attached to Massey University’s veterinary school, they treat some of the most vulnerable wildlife on the planet. Their patients are rare and endangered native birds, reptiles and mammals from all over New Zealand. Find out more:

4 responses to Saying goodbye to a rare penguin

    Sharron Biccum 09/03/2018 at 8:24 am

    This so great!!!

    Eve Kilmartin 07/03/2018 at 4:28 pm

    That footage bought a tear to my eye 😢. He is so small and that ocean is so big… if he is able to come back from near death I’m picking he will find his way home no problem… Nga mihi e’ Tawiki nau mai haere mai ki te moana hei’ Fiordland 😆.




    OMG! What a cute story! (Love the way the little guy bumps his head against the side of the pool.) Fare thee well, feathered friend!