How did he waddle so far?

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
The Little Penguin that was rescued from a beach in Geraldton.
Camera IconThe Little Penguin that was rescued from a beach in Geraldton. Credit: Charlie Meldrum/Charley Meldrum

A “lost” little penguin is lucky to be alive, after it was rescued from a beach in Geraldton in December last year weighing just 800g, with a serious foot injury.

After a three-month long recovery process, the little penguin has been microchipped and was finally released on Penguin Island.

It was initially taken to Perth Zoo where vets assessed it, took blood tests and X-rays, and provided initial rehydration care.

After three days, it was handed to Western Australian Seabird Rescue president and volunteer Fiona O’Sullivan, who said it was rare for little penguins to be as far north as Geraldton because the water temperature was too hot for them.

“He shouldn’t have been that far north, he was very skinny when he was found so he may have just got lost and weak, and drifted up that way,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“I had him in care for a few months after he was found and he initially lost weight as he was being tube-fed until we were sure his gut was working properly.

“We slowly introduced fish, but he was quite a challenge as he had to go back to tube-feeding twice. However once he started to tolerate the fish better he put on weight and started doing really well.”

Once its weight hit a healthy 1.37kg, the penguin began to moult and remained in care until this process was complete.

It also needed to regain waterproofing by preening and bathing. The penguin also had a lesion on its foot which was treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for 10 days. Further x-rays showed no bone had been damaged.

After fully recovering, it was placed in a temporary holding pen at Penguin Island for one night, before being released.

Ms O’Sullivan said if anyone wanted to donate to the Western Australian Seabird Rescue to help any other penguins or waterbirds in trouble, they could by visiting the group’s website.

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