Attention, law-abiding citizens: the streets of Tokyo are safe once again. A Humboldt penguin that became a cause célèbre after escaping from its aquarium three months ago was finally captured by hand and returned to the Tokyo Sea Life Park last Thursday. Sporting a badge of honor, the young 1-year-old bird also returned with conjunctivitis — or pinkeye — to show for its mischievous adventure.
According to CNN:
The fugitive bird, known as Penguin 337, somehow scaled a 4-m wall and got through a barbwire fence to get into the bay. Aquarium officials believe it escaped through small gaps that cats and frogs can pass through.
For 82 days, Penguin 337 spent its days apparently cavorting around Tokyo Bay, despite officials’ repeated attempts to catch the animal. The bird can reach swim speeds of up to 32 km/h and only begins to rest during sundown, making it difficult for authorities to spot the animal.
Park employees believe the conjunctivitis might have come from the polluted waters of the bay. “At first its eyes seemed to be swelling a bit, but now it’s recuperating as we’ve been giving it eyedrops every day,” aquarium official Takashi Sugino told AFP.
Regardless, the escaped penguin didn’t seem too happy as it began to realize its glimpse of unadulterated freedom was over. Tokyo Sea Life Park deputy director Kazuhiro Sakamoto told Reuters, “It didn’t look like it has gotten thinner over the past two months or been without food. It doesn’t seem to be any weaker. So it looks as if it’s been living quite happily in the middle of Tokyo Bay.”