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After Escaping Dogs and Sharks, Stolen Penguin Returned to Zoo

Today in adorable penguin news is the story of Dirk, a Fairy Penguin who lives at an Australian Sea World park. Dirk was kidnapped this past weekend and endured a harrowing adventure involving several assailants, a dog, a shark, and finally a rescue. That’s a big adventure for such a little guy.

On Saturday, three young men reportedly broke into the park and caused all sorts of mishchief, like swimming in the dolphin tank. On their way out, they nabbed the diminutive Dirk, for good measure. Their time with the small bird was apparently short lived, as the group are said to have released Dirk into the nearby Broadwater waterway.

The next day, a couple passing by the area saw Dirk being chased by a shark, which are known to swim around the Broadwater area. To make matters worse, a dog on the shore kept harassing the little bird when he tried to come ashore. The couple alerted SeaWorld officials who quickly responded, bringing the exhausted bird back to his home.

Though Fairy Penguins are native to southern Australia and the coast of New Zealand, it was important to return Dirk to his SeaWorld enclosure. For one thing, the seven-year old Dirk was born and raised in captivity and likely lacked some of the basic skills for surviving in the wild. For another, Peaches — Dirk’s mate — was waiting for him back at Sea World. Quoted by the AFP, the park’s marine science director Trevor Long said:

“These penguins do mate for life and that’s why it was so important to get this bird back[.]“

Upon his return, Dirk was said to be doing well, if a bit exhausted. His captors, on the other hand, are in some serious trouble. The three are currently being held by police after someone noticed that they had written about their hijinks on Facebook.

(AFP via PhysOrg, photo of Fairy Penguins via Wikimedia)

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