Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Monday, May 28, 2012

Escaped Penguin Caught And Back Behind Bars!

I have no idea if I am relieved or saddened by this news, but Penguin 337, a Humboldt Penguin who had escaped from the Tokyo Sea Life Park back in March has been recaptured atop an oil refinery screaming "Top of the world, Ma!"

Okay... maybe not.

Still, the unnamed bird known as Penguin 337 (see photo above from the Tokyo Sea Life Park / AFP - Getty Images) despite there only being 135 at the park was indeed captured last Thursday, May 24, 2012 proving that once again, I missed the boat. Sorry. I know you are all concerned about the penguin.

The as yet sexually unidentified penguin is less than a year-old (and you can tell the sex of it until it is older) stands 60 centimeters tall and was captured last week after park zookeepers caught it after it ventured onto a riverbank in Tokyo Bay, about eight kilometers (five miles) away from his zoo home.

He had escaped his enclosure and had been on the lam for 82 days! Despite fears that he might starve, #337 had been seen happily eating fish et al in the bay, and had maintained his weight. There were initial fears that the little bugger might have problems in his new environment, but he was seen some 30 times during the escape frolicking in the water, thumbing his beak at those trying to capture him.

Here's a Japanese news feed on the recapture taken from You Tube:

The zoo is still unsure how he escaped, but it is thought the penguin became frightened and scrambled or jumped a rock twice his height - who knew a penguin could jump? - and then escaped by going through a gap in the two-meter high fence surrounding Tokyo Sea Life Park.

Seems like he really wanted to get the hell out and stay out, as he even eluded capture when chased by the Japanese coastguard.

"You'll never take me alive, coppers!"

Now, as mentioned, #337 was recaptured and was nice and healthy, though probably ticked off at being caught.

But here's the irony for you.

After a few days back at the zoo, the healthy penguin developed conjunctivitis, an eye infection you might know better as pink eye!

Apparently the park's penguin pool uses seawater from Tokyo Bay that has been filtered and sterilized and zoo officials are blaming the poor water quality of Tokyo Bay for the bird's eye infection.

Uh... wasn't the penguin swimming in the unfiltered waters of Tokyo Bay for 82 days without an eye infection? 

By Andrew Joseph
PS: The 'Top of the world, Ma!" quote is from the 1949 Jimmy Cagney movie, White Heat.
The "You'll never take me alive, coppers!" is also from Jimmy Cagney, but from his 1931 film The Public Enemy.
I knew the first quote before writing this, but had no idea Cagney was famous for both of them! How's that for weirdness? 


  1. Bummer he is back behind bars. sweet! Well, not so sure how sweet the waters of Tokyo Bay are!

  2. I was kind of hoping he'd remain free, find some sort of sea bream to marry, settle down, spawn get caught in the fishing nets of a trawler...

  3. Sure, it's a bummer that he's back behind bars... But, then again (and I speak from experience) being behind bars DOES have its advantages: no taxes; three squares a day; no worries about where you are going to sleep....