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Friday, April 13, 2012

Help Needed For Penguin Down On His Luck

After one very long month of bemusement by this blogger, Japanese keepers have stopped looking for the Humboldt penguin that escaped back on March 4, 2012 from the Kasai Rinkai Aquarium in Tokyo.

While this blogger does have concerns for the birds overall safety, he was pleased to hear that the bird was sighted in the weeks afterward swimming in the Kyu-Edo River nearby (That's the escaped jailbird in the photo above).

Swimming and eating fish. Yeah! Fly! Be Free!... okay... maybe just Waddle! Be Free!

"Although we believe the penguin is doing OK somewhere in a river near Tokyo Bay, we don't know what else to do after nearly a month of searching," says park employee Sugino Takashi (surname first).

"Maybe it moved to an area far away from the park, in which case it's hard for us to find as Tokyo Bay is rather big," he continues.

Keepers have asked birdwatchers for help in tracking down the escapee but despite an initial flurry of news, they have received no credible information for some time.

The one-year-old, 60-centimeter (24-inch) tall penguin escaped from an enclosure where it lived with 134 other Humboldt penguins after scaling a sheer rock surface about 120 centimeters high. The guess is that it must have somehow been spooked for it to have scaled a surface like that.

Now... while the official search has been called off, sea lions are still combing the beaches in the area looking for the little snack. But, despite everyone's best efforts and wishes (if wishes were fishes, they would have found the bird by now), aquarium officials are still hopeful.

Hopeful because the penguin is about to hit adulthood. Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife is not sure if that means it's going to try and get laid or served at a bar, but zoo officials believe that the bird's feathers will provide the much needed clue.  
Penguin Feathers

"We hope to get fresh sightings in August, when the bird molts and its adult black-and-white feathers emerge because it will be easier for ordinary people to recognize it as a penguin," he said.

August? Of course the penguin will be molting! It's bloody August in Japan! It's going to be sweating!!! This bird is from the Antarctic!
I'm so sad I'm from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Waitaminute! If this bird is indeed from the Antarctic - despite it being bred in captivity—shouldn't its internal bird clock being going cuckoo? Because in August down below the equator - especially down around the South Pole, August would actually be Winter time for the bird!

Why the hell would it be molting? In real life - in the Antarctic—can a penguin molt its feathers —be naked as a jaybird and await the growing of adult feathers? Wouldn't the penguin be shaking like a chicken in a fox house?

I'm molting! Molting like the ice caps!

Or... is this scenario specific to penguins bred in captivity in the northern hemisphere?

Is it possible for the simple birth of a bird in a different hemisphere to shed hundreds of thousands of years of evolution - and to suddenly decide to shed in August, when every instinct for thousands of years says that it should molt during the southern hemisphere's summer months?

What the hell is going on? Why are penguins molting during their winter/our summer? Where the hell is the penguin? What the hell could possibly cause a penguin to scale a slick wall  twice its height—considering penguins can barely walk and can't fly despite being superb swimmers?  How are they planning on capturing this penguin—tool-wise? 

Anyhow, this blog is hot on the trail of the escaped penguin. How hot? Molt-en.

I've been saving that joke for six years. Damn... I think I should have kept saving it.'s one of my favorite cartoons with Bugs Bunny and, as luck would have it, a pen-goo-in. It uses elements of one of my favorite movies of all time - The Treasure of The Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart. It's the 1948 Warner Brothers classic cartoon Frigid Hare.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Last I saw the bird was at the local yakitori... He was "entertaining" several guests and hanging out with sliced onions and mushrooms... He'll be missed.

    1. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Aside from sea lions, I wonder if people eat penguins and do they taste just like chicken?