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Thursday, 12th April 2012
In General Japan News,

Tokyo zoo keepers give up Penguin search

Japanese zoo keepers have abandoned their hunt for a fugitive penguin after it escaped from the Tokyo Sea Life Park last month.

The Humboldt Penguin has been missing since it escaped from the tourist attraction at the beginning of March, but after daily searches of nearby river banks keepers having given up hope of finding it, the AFP reported.

Staff from the park believe that it may still be in the vicinity and hope that, as it is close to full maturity, it may eventually be spotted.

Speaking to the news agency, the Sea Life Park's Takashi Sugino said: "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."

Despite being unable to fly, the bird is thought to have escaped from the zoo by climbing a rock and hopping over its enclosure walls, in a story reminiscent of the DreamWorks Animation movie Madagascar.

Following a string of sightings of the bird bathing around the river, staff from the park mounted a search but have since drawn a blank and have been unable to track down the penguin.

"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," Mr Sugino added.

He added that the park hopes that the bird will reappear in August when it begins to molt and its fluffy chick feathers are replaced with the black and white feathers that make adult Humboldt penguins so distinctive.

Keepers at the zoo asked birdwatchers to remain on the lookout for the penguin but following an initial rush of information, fresh leads dried up.

Meanwhile, keepers at the Adventure World zoo in Shirahama are hoping that they will be welcoming new giant pandas this summer after a pair successfully mated at the zoo earlier this month.

Written by Mark Smith

Related news stories:
Tokyo penguin escapes from aquarium (5th March 2012)
Fugitive penguin sighted in Tokyo Bay (17th May 2012)