12 March 2012

No. 337: Penguin at large

JAPAN - A Humboldt penguin known only at No. 337 is still on the loose after escaping from Tokyo Sea Life Park at least five days ago.

Keepers were not even aware the one-year-old penguin was missing until they received a photo of it swimming in Tokyo Bay last weekend.

No. 337 had to scale a rock wall and a squeeze through a fence to break out of the penguin enclosure. The height of the rock wall varies between 1.2m and 4m - quite a big leap for Humboldt penguins, which grow to 56-70cm long.

Park staff have speculated that something may have startled the bird, leading it to climb over the wall.

The park has asked Tokyo residents, birdwatchers in particular, for help in finding the bird, and are regularly patrolling the shoreline with binoculars. Humboldts generally stay close to shore, although I don't know if this will apply to No. 337, as this penguin has already proven itself to be quite the adventurer.

Satoshi Toda of the Sea Life Park told AFP that park staff are hopeful the fugitive is still alive after receiving information that it had caught and eaten some fish.

Sources
Fugitive penguin no. 337 flips Tokyo park the bird by Ruairidh Villar, 7 March 2012, Reuters
Japan widens hunt for escaped penguin, Sapa-AFP, 9 March 2012, Times Live

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