15 May 2012

Authorities want NZ penguin released back into wild

12:47 pm on 15 May 2012

An organisation looking after a Fiordland penguin that washed up on Australia's south coast says it has been told by the New Zealand authorities to release the bird into the wild.

The custody of the New Zealand penguin has been under debate since Australian authorities demanded that it be sent to a zoo to join another Fiordland penguin on display.

But the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue organisation, which is nursing the bird back to health, has overruled the zoo.

The organisation's president, Aaron Machado, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Tuesday it was asked by the Department of Conservation to release the bird once it was back to full health.

He says when they rescued the bird she had a large laceration and was severely underweight.

Mr Machado says the penguin will be released out to sea and says he hopes it will return to Fiordland.