Rough weather has delayed Happy Feet’s release back into the Southern Ocean today, off NIWA’s research vessel, Tangaroa.
Tangaroa is around 80 miles away from the area where Happy Feet is expected to be released. The weather conditions are very rough – with 40-50 knot winds and 6-8 metre swells. The vessel endured swells of up to 15 metres overnight.
Tangaroa is on a month-long Ministry of Fisheries-funded fisheries survey on Campbell Island southern blue whiting stocks.
Wellington Zoo Manager of Veterinary Science, Dr Lisa Argilla, says Happy Feet is unperturbed by the rough conditions and still seems to be enjoying the smell of the ocean as he gets closer to home.
Happy Feet will be released only during daylight and when the sea conditions are appropriate. Once Tangaroa has arrived in position, a decision will be made about how and when to let him go.
Happy Feet has been fitted with a Sirtrack satellite tracker and a microchip, thanks to the generous support of Gareth Morgan. Fans can follow his progress on the Wellington Zoo website (www.wellingtonzoo.com) Sirtrack website (www.sirtrack.com) and the Our Far South website (www.ourfarsouth.org).