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Penguins break into sushi store, again

July 17, 2019

New Zealand police have returned two blue penguins to their natural habitat after they refused to leave a sushi store in Wellington. The "waddling vagrants" had been removed once before.

A blue penguin near a sushi shop in Wellington, New Zealand
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/TVNZ

Two little blue penguins that broke into a sushi stall at the busiest railway station in Wellington, a seaside city on the southern tip of New Zealand's Northern Island, have been returned to their natural habitat.

Police said the "waddling vagrants" were lured with salmon away from the stall before being returned back to the water. The store's co-owner joked that he had no idea that his tasty raw fish had attracted the subaquatic community.

Authorities said they had returned a little blue penguin to the ocean on Sunday evening after it was found loitering in the city center.

Read more: Should penguins be an animal attraction?

Repeat offenders

On Monday morning, they received more calls and found two penguins nesting beneath the Sushi Bi store at Wellington Railway Station. Police captured and released them, but they were back under the stall again a few hours later. 

Once they were moved back to the waterfront, wildlife officers sealed up the sushi stall's crevices to ensure the penguins wouldn't attempt to restore their nest.

Little blue penguins, also known as fairy penguins, are the smallest species of flightless sea birds with an average height of 25 centimeters (10 inches) and an average weight of about one kilogram (2.2 pounds).

They are native to New Zealand and relatively common in Wellington. They are listed as an at-risk species, with dogs considered their main threat.

dv/amp (AFP, AP)

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