Lifestyle & Belief

Japan's escaped Penguin 337 back behind bars


Wanted: have you seen this penguin?


Joerg Koch

No fugitive can run forever. More than two months after it escaped from his pen in a Japanese aquarium, Penguin 337 is back behind bars.

Two Tokyo Sea Life Park keepers caught the runaway yesterday evening under a bridge over the Edogawa river in Ichikawa, on the north side of Tokyo Bay, the Agence France Presse reported.

The 1-year-old Humboldt penguin, known by its park ID number 337, had been living free since early March, when it tackled a 2-meter fence to make it into the waters of the Edogawa.

More from GlobalPost: Tokyo aquarium hunts for escaped penguin

During his 11 weeks on the run, Penguin 337 was spotted some 30 times in and around the Tokyo Bay area – making it the first runaway penguin known to have reach the sea, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier this week. 

Video footage showed the bird "frolicking in the water and apparently happy," according to Reuters.

Perhaps it liked the local fish, zoological experts told the Yomiuri.

A spokesman for the aquarium confirmed to the BBC that Penguin 337 seemed to be in good health on his return. "It hasn't lost weight," he told the network. "It hasn't got fatter either, but its health seems good."

The penguin eluded keepers and coast guards on more than one occasion.

Humboldt penguins can swim at speeds of almost 25 mph and stay underwater for more than five minutes at a time, the Yomiuri said, which meant that keepers' only hope was to grab the bird as it returned to land to sleep.