Kidnapped penguin 'Dirk' rescued from sharks, dogs

Apr 16, 2012
Dirk, a fairy penguin at Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast, who was stolen from the Australian marine park before been found and returned a day later, but not before being hounded by a dog and chased by another animal, possibly a shark.

Dirk, a fairy penguin stolen from an Australian marine park, has been safely returned, but not before being hounded by a dog and chased by another animal, possibly a shark.

Police allege three young men broke into Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast on Saturday night, swam in the dolphin enclosure and then stole seven-year-old Dirk as they made their escape.

The little bird was found, exhausted but otherwise well, on Sunday after a couple spotted him in a nearby shallow estuary.

"They heard a scuffle in the water, and this penguin came out onto the sand," Sea World's director of Trevor Long told reporters.

"They thought it was very, very unusual, so they got on to their iPhone and googled 'lost penguin'. That came up with the story, and from there they were able to contact us."

Dirk, a fairy penguin at Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast, has never been in the wild and is part of a breeding colony. Dirk has been reunited with his mate Peaches.

Long said the couple saw the captive-bred penguin get chased out of the water by another animal -- possibly a shark -- before it was then herded back in by a dog. Sea World workers eventually came to retrieve him.

"Had we not got him it wouldn't have been a good situation at all in the long term for Dirk," Long said.

The penguin, who had never been in the wild before and is part of a breeding colony, has since been reunited with his mate Peaches.

"These do mate for life and that's why it was so important to get this bird back," Long said.

Police have charged three men over the theft after they were tipped off by a member of the public, after the trio reportedly posted about their exploits on Facebook.

The three, aged 18, 20 and 21, have been charged with trespassing, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal. They allegedly told police they released Dirk into the Broadwater, a known for its .

The penguin, meanwhile, is recovering.

"He was extremely dishevelled, he was quite exhausted last night after we did catch him but

Explore further: Rising temperatures can be hard on dogs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan zoo hunts for escaped penguin

Mar 05, 2012

The hunt was on Monday for a penguin that scaled a sheer rock face to escape from a Tokyo zoo, and was last seen swimming in a river in the Japanese capital.

Happy Feet the penguin missing in Southern Ocean

Sep 12, 2011

Scientists tracking Happy Feet, the wayward penguin who became a worldwide celebrity after washing up on a New Zealand beach, said Monday they had lost contact with the giant bird.

Concerns for New Zealand's wayward penguin

Jun 24, 2011

An Emperor penguin that washed up lost on a New Zealand beach this week was taken to Wellington Zoo Friday after its health deteriorated, wildlife experts said. ...

New Zealand's wayward penguin faces long swim home

Jun 29, 2011

(AP) -- A young emperor penguin that turned up on a New Zealand beach won't be getting a free ride all the way back to its Antarctic home - but the bird's human friends will at least help it get a little ...

Recommended for you

Breakthrough in coccidiosis research

14 hours ago

Biological researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are a step closer to finding a new cost-effective vaccine for the intestinal disease, coccidiosis, which can have devastating effects on poultry ...

Vietnam's taste for cat leaves pets in peril

18 hours ago

The enduring popularity of "little tiger" as a snack to accompany a beer in Vietnam means that cat owners live in constant fear of animal snatchers, despite an official ban.

New species of mayfly discovered in India

20 hours ago

Scientists have discovered a new species of mayfly in the southern Western Ghats, a mountain range along the west coast of India. In fact, this is the first time that any mayfly belonging to the genus Labiobaetis has be ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sean_W
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2012
One of many pieces of evidence that people who "care" about animal welfare are an animal's worst threat.
musmusculus
not rated yet Apr 16, 2012
One of many pieces of evidence that people who "care" about animal welfare are an animal's worst threat.


So, you're implying that these fellows were bumbling animal welfare activists, rather than immature jerks lacking brains or empathy? News reports do not support your assumption.

Or perhaps you are referring to the zoo itself? The zookeepers?