Wayward Penguin Returns to Antarctica After Chilling in New Zealand

Zuma

updated 08/29/2011 AT 2:40 PM ET

originally published 08/29/2011 AT 4:00 PM ET

Happy Feet is going home.

The young emperor penguin that wandered to New Zealand from his Antarctica home is now making his return to the Southern Ocean.

Happy Feet, as he came to be known, was found disoriented on a sandy New Zealand beach in June. He had traveled nearly 2,000 miles and was eating sand when he was discovered.

New Zealand officials debated whether Happy Feet should be returned to Antarctica, but following two months of recovery from sand-removal procedures, the penguin was deemed ready to go back to the wild.

According to New Zealand’s Dominion Post Weekend, Happy Feet settled into his ice-filled, air-conditioned crate aboard the research ship Tangaroa with a “bottom wiggle.”

There is a chance that Happy Feet will swim back to the ship or that his natural instincts won’t hold up to the environment, in which case he will return to New Zealand.

[RELATED_TEXT “Can’t get enough pet news? See more on PEOPLE Pets

• Bleat It! Kim Kardashian Encounters Goat Traffic on Her Mini-Moon

• Made the Shade! Clever Orangutan Builds a Cabana” “” ]