THE journey home has begun for New Zealand's visiting emperor penguin, Happy Feet, who is tonight bound for the Antarctic.
The celebrity penguin was today taken aboard the research vessel Tangaroa in Wellington and placed in a specially-designed cold cage for the four-day voyage south to the Campbell Islands.
Once there, Happy Feet will be released into the Southern Ocean, from where it's hoped he will make his own way home.
Now fully recovered after being found in June on a New Zealand beach, sick and way off course, he today craned his head back and forth, flapped his flippers and seemed a little perturbed by the move.
But the one-metre tall penguin, whose cold travel crate looks like a giant Esky, appears to have been anxious to set sail.
“He wants to leave,” veterinarian Lisa Argilla said over the weekend. “He is ready and he's really stroppy.