Plucky Penguin Picks Up Pinkeye

The Penguin Post has learned that the plucky Penguin 337 that was recaptured last week after nearly three months on the lam in the polluted waters of Tokyo Bay has pinkeye, an aquarium official said Monday. The Humboldt penguin, one of 135 kept at Tokyo Sea Life Park, was taken back into captivity after 82 days of freedom following a breakout that made global headlines and garnered it a following around the world. On Friday, the day after its adventure came to an end, the bird “was diagnosed by a veterinarian as having conjunctivitis (pinkeye), so we have kept it in a room separate from the rest of our penguins,” said aquarium official Takashi Sugino. Fans of the 1-year-old runaway — known by the aquarium only as Penguin No. 337 and lacking any sexual features due to its age — will have to wait until it has recovered from the condition, before it is back in public view. “At first its eyes seemed to be swelling a bit, but now it’s recuperating, as we’ve been giving it eyedrops every day,” Sugino said. “I don’t know the exact reason for its eye disease, but in this aquarium the seawater pumped up for penguins is filtered and disinfected,” he added. A government official said the water quality in Tokyo Bay has improved in recent years, but pollution by organic substances sometimes breaches environmental thresholds.

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