Japan's fugitive penguin captured
Tokyo Sea Life Park's fugitive penguin has finally been caught.
May 25th, 2012
07:52 AM ET

Japan's fugitive penguin captured

When a 1-year-old Humboldt penguin that escaped from a Tokyo aquarium three months ago dared to set foot on land in Ichikawa on Thursday night, it was captured by hand and finally collared, The Japan Times reported.

An aquarium employee was walking alongside the Edogawa River in Chiba Prefecture at 5:30 p.m. and spotted the fugitive penguin, which escaped in March.

The penguin was seen swimming in the river near the Kanamachi water purification plant in Katsushika Ward earlier in the week. Last week, people also saw it thriving and snacking on small fish in Tokyo Bay. It was assumed that the bird was finding some place to rest onshore at night.

The fugitive bird, known as Penguin 337, somehow scaled a 13-foot wall and got through a barbed-wire fence to get into the bay. Aquarium officials believe it escaped through small gaps that cats and frogs can pass through.

Officials from Tokyo Sea Life Park feared the penguin would not survive in the waters of the bay, busy with marine traffic headed for densely populated Tokyo.

"It didn't look like it has gotten thinner over the past two months, or been without food. It doesn't seem to be any weaker. So it looks as if it's been living quite happily in the middle of Tokyo Bay," Kazuhiro Sakamoto, deputy director of the park, told Reuters.

The penguin was filmed by a Japanese coast guard patrol craft on May 7, but the crew was unable to catch it then.

Penguin 337 is one of 135 penguins at Tokyo Sea Life Park.

See the latest photo of the penguin on Reuters AlertNet.

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Filed under: Animals • Japan • Penguins
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Fugitive Bird?

    "The penguin was seen swimming in the river near the Kanamachi water purification plant in Katsushika Ward earlier in the week. Last week, people also saw it thriving and snacking on small fish in Tokyo Bay."

    Whoever is responsible for capturing and returning this "fugitive bird" should be ashamed of themselves! I could see returning it to the zoo if it was unable to survive outside the zoo, but it OBVIOUSLY was living the fine life of a penguin that's not in a cage and somebody screwed that up for him. You zoo keepers are the fugitives!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      Let my penguin go!

      May 25, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • meadowsea

      I agree! Going to such lengths to escape, it obviously wants to be free and has been doing quite well on its own! I hope they will set it free again - perhaps taking it to its native waters out of the way of a busy harbor.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. shutuphippie

    Nooooo!!!!! I was cheering for the little guy to keep going in his bid for freedom!!! lol. He's safer now, without all the commercial traffic zipping around and the probable pollution in the water, but he was making it!!! Thumbing his nose (err... winging his beak?) at the authorities!!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andrey

    Free Penguin 337! Stop the suppression!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      Where can we send donations?

      May 25, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. NEW WORLD TRADE CENTER

    What they aren't telling you is that this little guy actually washed up in Alaska.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • debris

      lol, good one!

      May 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hemplover

    This is one penguin who would rather be dead than in jail. Let the penguin go!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • reasonablebe

      agreed. but provide him passage to his native territory and also make arrangements for him to adjust to and socialize with the other penguin company before he is left to his own devises. think in Born Free (lion, Elsa) .

      May 25, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. hemplover

    His belly is full of fish. They should have released a female to keep him company. Humans are idiots.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. nepetacataria

    I think the penguin was fine for the last 3 months as it was still late winter/spring weather. But once the summer weather sets in, the temperature can get quite hot and humid. I'm sure a penguin used to sub-Artic temperatures would not survive comfortably once the weather changes.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Catherine

      Umm. Humbolt penguins are warm weather birds. South American I believe.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • b

      Humbolt penguins actually live along the coast of Peru and Chile. All penguins are in the southern hemisphere, but not all live in arctic climates.

      May 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    Thank God for the Batman!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Drew

    It even looks like he has wingcuffs on. Free Penguin 337!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Trinka

      I thought the same thing! Poor little dude....

      May 25, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. snowdogg

    "It didn't look like it has gotten thinner over the past two months, or been without food. It doesn't seem to be any weaker. So it looks as if it's been living quite happily in the middle of Tokyo Bay,"

    I'm sure the penguin will be MUCH happier behind bars – again.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kingofthenet

    He IS the Prisoner, I am not a Number! I am a Penguin!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      We want information, information, INFORMATION. We will have it by squeek or by beak. You are #337. Why did you retire?

      May 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. steven harnack

    Give them the bird until they release the little freedom fighter!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Stingrayjo

    I think it can be said that Penguins are the "Cool Dudes" (no pun intended) of the animal kingdom.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. reasonablebe

    Seems freedom is as important to penguins as it is to people. is this a surprise?

    May 25, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Susan

    Fugitive? The photo's of him in Tokyo Bay looks like he's having fun. I guess he showed them he could survive. How about feeding him a little extra and treating him better, maybe he won't want to leave.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
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