Antarctic Penguin Washes Ashore Nearly 2,000 Miles from Home

By Zachary Rosenthal.

An Adélie penguin native to Antarctica washed ashore on the beaches of Birdlings Flat, New Zealand, this week, more than 1,800 miles from home.

The penguin, which locals have named Pingu, likely swam the entire distance from the shores of Antarctica to New Zealand, only the third time in history that an Adélie penguin has made it to the New Zealand coastline.

The penguin was found by Harry Singh, who, upon discovering it, thought the bird was a stuffed toy, according to an interview with the BBC. Sing filmed his first encounter with the flightless bird, which was exhausted and barely moving. Concerned that the penguin was not entering the water and that it could be a target for local predators, Singh called the local authorities.

“We did not want it to end up in a dog’s or cat’s stomach,” Singh said.

New Zealand does have native penguin species, which is likely what the penguin rescuers, led by Thomas Stracke, who has cared for penguins on New Zealand’s South Island for many years, were expecting to see. Instead, Stracke and his colleagues were stunned to realize it was an Adélie penguin that had made an extraordinarily long and arduous journey.