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Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 09/13/2011

Happy Feet the penguin vanishes on his way home


Happy Feet. (Mark Mitchell - AP)
Happy Feet may be less happy these days. The three-year-old penguin became a worldwide phenomenon when he was found wandering around New Zealand, slightly off course from his Antarctic home.

A whole lot of money — around $30,000 — and time went in to fixing the penguin up and preparing him for the long swim home. Sad news struck yesterday when a satellite transmitter attached to the penguin went silent Friday. Researchers speculated it could mean Happy Feet became a shark’s snack.

But before penguin funerals start up around the world, one penguin expert, John Cockrem, told a New Zealand news agency Happy Feet may still be kicking and the transmitter just fell off. Researchers affixed the transmitter to the bird with super glue (yes, super glue on the bird’s feathers) and it could have fallen off during the swim. Thirty thousand dollars and all they could afford was super glue.

By  |  11:20 AM ET, 09/13/2011

 
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