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Penguin 337, the Runaway Humboldt, to be Named in Japan

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Penguin 337, the one year-old Humboldt who escaped from a Tokyo aquarium over two months ago, was recently returned to its home at the Tokyo Sea Life Park after a lengthy adventure. To celebrate its return, the penguin is finally getting something we all take for granted: a name.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular story, here’s what happened: A young penguin, which was only known by its number since it was too young for its gender to be determined, scaled a rock wall and climbed through a barbed wire fence to freedom over two months ago. Much to the dismay of aquarium officials and the Japanese Coast Guard, the feathered creature eluded their grasp for quite some time, despite the efforts of many to bring the Humboldt back home. So began the little one’s life on the lam.

Officials believed that Penguin 337 kept his belly full by eating small fish from the Tokyo Bay, which was cause for some concern. The polluted waters, which are also experiencing high radiation levels as of late, were thought to be too unhealthy for the bird. However, thanks to help of the coast guard and eagle-eyed residents, 337 was returned to the aquarium and given a clean bill of health. I smell another “Happy Feet” sequel in the works.

Now that the penguin — who has since been labeled as a male, by the way — has returned to his home, officials at Tokyo Sea Life Park are asking visitors for a little help finding a name for the little guy. The contest runs between June 15 and July 1.

“We decided to give him a pet name by soliciting ideas and their reasons from visitors,” aquarium official Takashi Sugino explained. “This is a special treatment to express our gratitude to the public for providing information on the bird, and also for cooperating with us by listening to our call not to try to capture him.”

Penguin 337, the Runaway Humboldt, to be Named in Japan
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  • Penn

    I think they should call him McGyver or Houdini

  • Mary Reeves

    Ninja. Duh.

  • Debbie Bratton

    I think a good name for him would be “Casanova”.
    I love penguins. Have collected them (not real) for over 45 years.

  • Lisa

    I am not a fan of keeping animals in zoos or aquariums. I believe they should be left in the wild if they are healthy enough to survive. Name him Willy and free him back to where ever Humboldt penguins come from.

  • Rocketman

    I feel sorry he was returned to prison. He was perfectly happy swimming around in the bay; he even gained weight on the lamb.Now back to a little pool and three squares a day; massive boredom.

    I guess it make the prison guards happy to have a job.

  • Tami

    I like the name Willy! Free Willy! Poor lil guy is back in prison!

  • Leigh Nichols

    Renegade

  • Jody Snyder

    I’d call him Houdini, after the escape artist. How cool to recieve this today. Penguins are my favorite critter- as you can tell by my e-mail address (I even swam with them in South Africa at Boulders Beach!). Also, today is my birthday- so this really made my smile! Be free, little penguin & hope they pick an awesome name for you!

  • Rivkah

    Glad he was caught safely. If this had happened here in the US, people would have been taking potshots at him, or shooting with arrows, or trying to catch him and keep him as a pet, or many other stupid tactics. The Japanese listened to authorities. Had that quake happened here, it would have been utter chaos, just like after Katrina. We could learn a lot from the Japanese!

    • bette

      the japanese could a lot from us – they are planning on restarting the two nuclear plants that went down in the tsunami.

      At least we close ours.

  • bette

    Capone, or Alcatraz