Going back to where you came from, after getting used to being somewhere else, can be a very bittersweet moment. It’s a lot to take in for anybody, let alone a baby penguin! I’ve felt this before after moving overseas and continue to feel this emotion after coming home from a trip. While I’m happy to come home, it’s hard to make the transition back into winter after getting used to a beach with palm trees!
This video is a heart-melting clip of a baby penguin getting released back into the wild by his caregiver, and it’s even cuter than I imagined.
The Kaikoura Wildlife Rescue in New Zealand is specifically for native birds that have fallen ill or become injured. It opened in September 2017 to take these animals in for treatment. Founder Sabrina Luecht is a wildlife biologist who saw more and more birds suffering from starvation as a result of the changing of the weather, most likely due to La Nina conditions. Many different kinds of birds have shown up in dire need of care and attention. Examples include some shearwaters, gulls, petrels, owls, kereru, and blue penguins like the little cutie seen in the video!
Sabrina took this tiny blue penguin in when it showed up one day with a visible head wound. The poor dear was stuck in a net trying to free himself when he got tangled up and couldn’t get himself out. He was trapped and stuck on his own until a passerby noticed his struggle and stopped to help him. He was brought to the center where Sabrina tended to him, and he was able to heal under her supervision with the right medication and lots of rest.
But alas, the time must come when the injured is healed and let go back into the wild. The precious blue penguin healed well and in only six days. Sabrina scooped her little buddy up and had her last moment with the bird before releasing him. Walking up to the shore, she kneels down and gently lets him go. But, he’s a little confused. He looks back as if to say, “Hey! Where are you going? Why are you leaving me….?!” She walks away, and he pauses. He looks longingly and lovingly before the water reaches up to his feet and reminds him to come home. With a hop, skip and a jump, he’s off, but it was at that moment that he was truly thankful for his kind human!
Click below to watch this waddling baby penguin get reacquainted with the water.