Penguin stops plane taking off in New Zealand

Don’t let this little penguin’s size fool you.

The flippered friend managed to halt air traffic at one of New Zealand’s main airports.

A pilot was about to take off from Wellington International Airport on January 12 when the blue penguin, also known by their Māori name kororā, was spotted.

“The pilot and passengers patiently waited while Wellington Airport staff raced out to collect and help the visitor,” the airport shared.

They said the runway was 50C at the time, “so it’s no wonder they weren’t particularly happy!”

The penguin was taken to The Nest Te Kōhanga at Wellington Zoo, which is an animal hospital for native wildlife, and the airport said it had since penguin-proofed its fences.

In an update over the weekend, the zoo said the penguin was only six weeks old when it was found on the runway.

While it was hungry and a little underweight, the zoo said it was otherwise healthy and now well on its way to recovery.

As soon as its feathers are waterproofed, the penguin will be released back into the wild.

“Kororā are known to live in natural nests at nearby Lyall Bay, and this fledgling probably got lost on the way home,” Wellington Zoo said.

“During their stay at Te Kōhanga, the kororā was put on a weight gain diet with LOTS of yummy fish. Our vets did some X-rays and blood work to make sure this precious penguin was okay.”