Penguin's Freak Escape from Aquarium Launches Birdhunt

The tuxedoed bird somehow made it over a wall and through a fence

By Sam Schulz
|  Wednesday, Mar 7, 2012  |  Updated 7:48 AM EDT
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A one-year-old Humboldt penguin escaped from the Tokyo Sea Life Park sometime last week, Reuters reported.

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Penguins aren't known for their feats of daring or even for doing much with their wings — but one has just escaped from a Tokyo aquarium, puzzling keepers and launching a search, Reuters reported.

Officials at Tokyo Sea Life Park discovered the escape after they were sent a photo that appeared to show the bird swimming in Tokyo Bay. They've asked for tips on its whereabouts and are scouring the shoreline by the park with binoculars.

The deputy director of the park chalked up the one-year-old Humboldt penguin's dash for freedom to youthful pluck and curiosity about life outside the enclosure.

How the bird managed to strike out on its own is less clear.

"There's a man-made rock wall that varies between 4 to 13 feet high. After somehow climbing over it and getting out, it appears the penguin managed to squeeze through a gap in the outer fence," said deputy director Kazuhiro Sakamoto.

From there, the creature may have headed for the Edo River or the bay — but its keepers are worried about its safety should it get into the dirty bay water or wander onto a nearby highway.

Humboldt penguins are native to the coasts of Peru and Chile.

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