Wayward penguin set to return home to Antarctic

Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:43 AM ET

Richard Gill / AFP - Getty Images /
This file handout photo taken on June 20, 2011 shows an emperor penguin that washed up lost on a New Zealand beach more than 1,900 miles from its Antarctic home, and was taken to Wellington Zoo on June 24, 2011, after its health deteriorated.

"Happy Feet," the emperor penguin who lost his way and ended up thousands of miles away in New Zealand, will be returned home, Reuters reports. 

The penguin captured the world's attention in part because he had swallowed more than six pounds of sand and underwent surgery to remove it. Penguins normally swallow sand to stay hydrated, and researchers think "Happy Feet" became confused and ate the sand instead. 

Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images /
"Happy Feet" the emperor penguin that washed up on the Kapiti Coast recovers after undergoing a medical examination at Wellington Zoo on June 29, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand.

The bird will head back to the subantarctic aboard a research vessel and in a specially designed cage.

Read more, here.