Saturday 21 April 2018

Norwegians hunt for baby penguins stolen in suspected student prank

The three chicks were stolen on Thursday
The three chicks were stolen on Thursday

Alister Doyle

Norwegian police are on the hunt for three baby penguins stolen from an aquarium in a suspected student prank.

"It's a tragedy," Tor Erik Standal, head of the Aalesund Aquarium on Norway's west coast, told Reuters after the three Humboldt penguin chicks and one egg vanished early on Thursday.

Time is running out for the tiny chicks as they cannot survive long outside of the nest.

Police charged five or six youths on Friday for endangering animals by breaking into the aquarium, based on video surveillance evidence, police investigator Rita Thoresen said.

"None of them admits taking the penguins," she added.

More than 100 volunteers have turned out to help the police search for the flightless birds in the countryside around the aquarium.

The chicks are about three weeks old and weigh only around 300 grams each.

"They will not be able to survive for much longer," Mr Standal said.

"They should have been in their nest for maybe 2-3 more weeks before they go outside."

May is a time of celebration for high school graduates in Norway, often including drunkenness and pranks or dares such as going without sleep for 72 hours, kissing a policeman or even, on one occasion, hugging the central bank governor.


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