Penguin #337 Still A Fugitive

It seems obvious by now that regular meals and the companionship of scores of other penguins just weren’t enough.  Penguin Number 337 ( it doesn’t have a real name) seems to have decided something was missing from life at a Tokyo aquarium when he (she) made a break for it last week. The one-year-old Humboldt penguin scaled a rock wall and squeezed through a fence during a daring bid for freedom, sparking a penguin-hunt that has included a city-wide alert for information on the tubby, flightless fugitive. Tokyo Sea Life Park, on the shores of Tokyo Bay, was alerted to the escape of the bird the other day, known only by its number 337, after receiving a photograph on Sunday that supposedly showed a penguin swimming in the bay. Kazuhiro Sakamoto, the park’s deputy director, thinks it may have been a simple case of happy feet. “The penguin hatched last year on January 27, so it is still a very young penguin,” Sakamoto said. “We think that because of its young age, it might have escaped due to its curiosity and yearning for adventure.” The bird, still too young for keepers to determine whether it was male or female, shared life at a rocky outdoor enclosure with a view of the sea with 135 other Humboldts (which accounts for why it never received a proper name), and a number of penguins of other breeds. Humboldts grow to 56-70 cm (22-28 inches) long and can weigh up to 5.9 kg (13 lbs). But breaking out of its enclosure would have been far from simple for a one year old penguin. “There’s a man-made rock wall that varies between 1.2 to 4 metres (4 to 13 ft) high. After somehow climbing over it and getting out, it appears the penguin then managed to squeeze through a gap in the outer fence,” Sakamoto said. Worried that the penguin might have strayed out to sea, keepers issued a Tokyo-wide call for tips on the feathered fugitive and are making regular patrols along the shoreline in front of the aquarium, staring out to sea with binoculars. Visitors said they were worried about the bird. The area around the aquarium, which sits where the Edo River empties into the bay, consists of high-rise apartment buildings, concrete, with a highway looping overhead. “The sea water around here is very dirty, so unless the penguin is returned to safety quickly it may die,” said Hiroki Kasai, a university student. Others felt it may have gone in search of more spacious living quarters, noting that the penguin enclosure was much more cramped than a penguin would find in its natural habitat. Sakamoto said the waters of the bay were full of fish so the penguin was unlikely to starve — but that it was also unlikely to head for Peru or Chile, the ancestral home of Humboldts. “It’s a type of penguin that tends to stay close to shore, but I also think it would not be able to cross all of that wide ocean.”

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4 Responses to “Penguin #337 Still A Fugitive”

  1. Penguin No. 337 Says:

    @penguin_337 “hey all, I’m doing fine. Little sight seeing today”

  2. Penguin No. 337 Says:

    All’s good, live’n the dream!

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