The Adélie penguin is on the shores of New Zealand, at least 3,000 km from its natural habitat – Antarctica.

Harry Singh, a local resident who found the penguin, said that the bird at first seemed like a soft toy. He and his wife saw the penguin while walking after a day on the beach in Birdlings Flat, a village south of Christchurch.

This is only the third recorded case of an Adélie penguin found off the coast of New Zealand.

He did not move for about an hour and was exhausted.

Harry Singh, local

Singh turned to rescuers, as the penguin was not in the water and could fall prey to other predators.

Blood tests showed that he was underweight and dehydrated. Veterinarians fed him fluid through a special feeding tube so that the penguin could recover.

He was released into a bay on the Banks Peninsula, where experts hope he will be able to get home.

Adélie penguins are rare in New Zealand, but if there are more in the future, it could be a worrying sign, said Thomas Stracke of Christchurch Penguin Rehabilitation.