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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The transmitter attached to the penguin, on his release back into the wild from the NZ research ship Tangaroa on 4 September, stopped relaying information last Friday.
There're many theories about the sudden loss of contact: Happy Feet's transmitter has simply fallen off. Solar flares interrupted play. He's run out of free-calling minutes. But it's also possible the penguin has been gobbled up - although unlikely, given the area he was in (well, that's the story you can tell your kids anyway).
Wildlife expert Colin Miskelly, who advised on Happy Feet's treatment, says efforts to find the penguin will continue: "It's unlikely we'll ever know what caused the transmissions to cease, but it's time to harden up to the reality that the penguin has returned to the anonymity from which he emerged." Absolutely right: reality check. So why then are "efforts continuing" to find one solitary penguin bobbin' around in the Southern Ocean? Y'know there're around 450,000 Emperor Penguins out there?
Look, we all got emotionally attached to the bird, and that's fine. We nursed him back to health, then took him back to sea. We let him go...and now we really do need to "let him go".
I'm not being a cynic, coz I rather liked the little scrapper too. It was a nice story while it lasted. But the world continues to turn, and there're bigger things to worry about...