An Antarctic penguin has traversed 3,000km of icy waters to find himself far from home and on new and puzzling shores: the south-eastern coastline of New Zealand.
The Adélie penguin, affectionately named “Pingu” by locals, was spotted looking somewhat lost at Birdlings Flat, a small settlement on New Zealand’s South Island.
It’s only the third recorded instance of a live Adélie penguin.
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, ‘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.’
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.