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Updated January 25th, 2024 at 15:49 IST

Penguin's Surprise Visit On The Runway Delays Flights At New Zealand Airport

he adorable visitor caused quite a scene, leading to flight delays until the penguin could be safely rescued.

Manasvi Asthana
Penguin on runway causes delays at New Zealand airport: ‘A very unusual occurrence’
Penguin on runway causes delays at New Zealand airport: ‘A very unusual occurrence’ | Image:Twitter
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Reports indicate that a small blue penguin made an unexpected appearance on the runway at Wellington National Airport in New Zealand. The adorable visitor caused quite a scene, leading to flight delays until the penguin could be safely rescued. The small blue penguin, locally known as a kororā, was sighted by an Air Chathams pilot just before takeoff at around 2 p.m. on January 12 at Wellington National Airport in New Zealand. In response, airport staff promptly intervened to capture and assist the unexpected visitor. The airport shared on social media that both the pilot and passengers patiently waited during the rescue operation. Notably, the airport's runway is situated along the rocky coast of New Zealand's capital city.

Images shared by the airport on social media depict the penguin running on the pavement. Following its capture, subsequent photos reveal the penguin looking somewhat disappointed, wrapped in a towel inside a vehicle.

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Due to high temperatures, airport officials decided to transport the penguin to the Wellington Zoo for recovery. Jack Howarth, Wellington Airport's Wildlife Officer, described the incident as highly unusual, noting that there is no previous record of a penguin visiting the airport in such a manner. 

The penguin is believed to have slipped underneath the fencing around the runway, prompting the airport to take measures to enhance the fencing "to keep our flippered friends out of trouble in the future," as stated by the airport.

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A spokesperson from the zoo revealed that the penguin was just six weeks old. Despite being a bit thin and hungry, the bird was deemed to be in good health. Kororā, the world's smallest penguin species, typically stand at 10 inches tall and weigh about 2.5 pounds, according to New Zealand's Department of Conservation.

Historically, these penguins were widespread across New Zealand, but due to human activities and predators, they have been largely confined to islands off the coast.

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Published January 25th, 2024 at 15:49 IST

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