May 22, 2019

Rare Emperor penguin turns up in New Zealand

Since Pekapeka beach is a nudist beach please can we have no jokes about the Emperor having no clothes.

For only the second known time an Antarctic Emperor penguin has turned up on New Zealand shores.

Kapiti Coast resident Christine Wilton was walking her dog on Monday afternoon at Peka Peka Beach north of Wellington when she saw a “glistening white thing standing up” on the sand.

“I thought I was seeing things,” Wilton said.

She contacted the Department of Conservation’s Waikanae office, who discovered the strange visitor was an Antarctic emperor penguin -only the second ever sighted on New Zealand shores.

The one other recording of an emperor penguin in New Zealand was at Southland’s Oreti Beach in 1967.

DOC is advising that people should not disturb the penguin and that dogs are to be kept on leads in the area.

Penguins can give vicious pecks if they feel threatened. If left alone it is expected that the bird will eventually swim back out to sea.

“It’s amazing to see one of these penguins on the Kapiti Coast,” said DOC biodiversity spokesperson Peter Simpson. “Unusual animals from the Antarctic sometimes visit our shores, but we really don’t know why.”

Emperor penguins are the largest penguins, with adults reaching more than a metre tall and weighing up to 30kg. They feed on fish, krill, squid and a wide range of marine invertebrates and hold the diving record at 450 metres deep and 11 minutes underwater.

An Emperor penguin turning up on our coast is a welcome change from rubbish from passing boats and dickheads in their 4wd’s.