The emperor penguin known as Happy Feet will leave the New Zealand aboard an ice-strengthened research vessel at the end of the month[image:2331:third:right]
The Antarctic bird was found on the Kapiti Coast in June and has been at Wellington Zoo recovering from operations to remove sand and sticks from his stomach.
The zoo and National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research have announced the penguin will leave for Antarctic waters on 29 August aboard the deepwater research vessel RV Tangaroa.
He will be released in the Southen Ocean about four days into the voyage.
The zoo and the Department of Conservation have been trying to raise $30,000 to return the bird to the wild.