Penguin escaped from Salzburg Zoo | Polarjournal
African penguins (aka jackass penguins) live along the coasts of South Africa and Namibia and are the only free-living penguins on the African continent. They owe their name to the spectacle-shaped patches of skin around their eyes. (Photo: Salzburg Zoo)

The excitement was great when a young African penguin went missing from Salzburg Zoo last Sunday morning. After a search operation lasting several hours, the animal was finally found in a cornfield. How the penguin could escape the facility and the grounds at night into the cornfield about 800 meters away, the zoo can not explain. Already in the fall of 2021, a penguin from the same zoo went missing for four days.

To raise their chicks, African penguins build a nest together in sheltered burrows or under rock overhangs, where females usually lay two eggs. (Photo: Salzburg Zoo)

The three-month-old penguin had left only recently its breeding den. As zoo manager Sabine Grebner noted, they were informed on Sunday at 6:20 a.m. that a penguin had been seen in a nearby cornfield. “After all the African penguins had been in the facility the night before, we hadn’t noticed the loss yet,” Grabner said. “The only thing we know is that it was another juvenile, otherwise we are completely in the dark. But we will immediately start looking for clues and consider further measures if necessary.”

The young penguin from Salzburg Zoo had hidden in a cornfield in Anef and could be caught after a three-hour search. (Photo Salzburg Zoo)

Difficult search in a corn field

However, an initial search for the penguin with some zoo employees had proved to be a “search for a needle in a haystack” in the densely overgrown cornfields. Since the use of a drone with a thermal imaging camera also brought no success, the search team was reinforced. The cornfields were combed closely using a human chain.

After a search operation lasting about three hours, relief finally followed: the penguin was spotted and captured by district manager Andreas Gfrerer. “We absolutely cannot explain this. There are several fences and other obstacles between the penguin facility and the place where it was found, and penguins are known to be better swimmers than pedestrians,” Gfrerer concluded.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

Website: Salzburg Zoo

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
error: Content is protected !!
Share This