‘Super Rare’ Antarctic Penguin Found In New Zealand Sparks Climate Warning

by : Joe Harker on : 12 Nov 2021 17:48
Rare Antarctic Penguin Found In New Zealand Sparks Climate WarningAllanah Purdie/Department of Conservation

A rare Adélie penguin native to the Antarctic has ended up 1,800 miles away from home in New Zealand.

An Antarctic penguin has made a journey of at least 1,800 miles across icy waters and ended up on the beaches of south-eastern New Zealand.


The penguin, who locals have named Pingu, was spotted looking lost and alone at Birdlings Flat in what is only the third recorded incident of an Adélie penguin making it to New Zealand, reports The Guardian.

Per the BBC, local resident Harry Singh was the first to find Pingu and at first mistook him for a ‘soft toy’ until the penguin moved his head.

The exhausted bird ‘did not move for one hour’ and Singh was worried it might be attacked by other animals as it lay on the beach, he called penguin rescuers to come and help the lost bird.


Finding Pingu to be starving and dehydrated, the rescuers fed and watered him before releasing him back into the sea in the hopes that he will be able to find his way back home again.

Penguin rescuer Thomas Stracke said there had been talk of flying Pingu back to the Antarctic but this was sadly not doable.

Pingu’s arrival is a cause for climate concern as Adélie penguins live exclusively in the Antarctic and experts worry it could be an early warning sign that climate change is having an impact.

Otagu University professor Philip Seddon said Pingu’s journey was ‘super rare’ and that if the penguin’s arrival in New Zealand turned out not to be a one-off it could be a sign of troublesome climate change.

Pingu illustrator Tony Wolf has diedBBC

He told The Guardian: ‘All species of penguin are like marine sentinels, when they’re doing badly, they’re giving us an early signal – canaries in coalmines – an early signal that things are not good.

‘I think if we started getting annual arrivals of Adélie penguins, we’d go actually, something’s changed in the ocean that we need to understand.’

The Times reports that Pingu ending up more than 1,800 miles from home could be a case of a penguin getting very lost, or a consequence of ocean temperatures rising.


Water warming means the fish that penguins would normally eat dive to deeper depths where it’s colder, depriving the Adélies of their food supply.

The last time an Adélie made it to New Zealand was in 1993, and the time before that was in 1962.

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Topics: Animals, Climate Change, New Zealand


BBC and 2 others
  1. BBC

    Rare Antarctic penguin accidentally travels 3,000km to New Zealand

  2. The Guardian

    ‘Super rare’: Antarctic penguin washes up in New Zealand, 3,000km from home

  3. The Times

    Penguin’s 1,800-mile detour to New Zealand prompts climate warning