Happy Feet snacks on salmon

Tuesday 5 July 2011, 12:50PM
By NZ King Salmon


A New Zealand salmon producer is helping out to build the strength of the young emperor penguin

now recovering in Wellington Zoo.

The emperor penguin appeared on a Kapiti Coast beach in the beginning of last week and has been

transferred to the animal hospital in Wellington ZOO on Friday the 24 June.

Marlborough-based New Zealand King Salmon has donated 100kg of salmon smolt (juvenile fish) to

the ZOO to help restore the penguin to health. Happy Feet, who has now moved onto solids, is eating

up to two kilograms of NZ King Salmon per day.

“Happy feet is doing very well and seems to be enjoying the salmon smolt” says Kate Baker,

Wellington ZOO spokesperson.

“We usually supply the Wellington ZOO with about 100kg salmon smolt when it is available and

knowing that our salmon is a treat for Penguins we did double our supply to support The Nest as well

as this incredible survivor who swam more than 3,000km to get to the Kapiti Coast. We wish Happy

Feet all the best for his recovery” says Stephen Gibson, Marketing Manager, New Zealand King


Emperor penguins are the tallest and heaviest penguin species and endemic to Antarctica. Emperor

penguins grow up to 122cm in height and weight anywhere from 22 to 45kg, have pale yellow breast

and bright yellow ear patches. Their diet consists primarily of fish. The lifespan is usually 20 years in

the wild, although some may live to 50 years of age.