An African Penguin known as Buddy to Bayworld Oceanarium in Port Elizabeth may now be struggling to survive in the wild after two early 20’s male activists reportedly broke into the oceanarium at night and removed the penguin from the premises to free it.
The penguin was released into the wild in the Indian Ocean and experts say it was a dangerous mistake because having been raised inside of the oceanarium for so long, Buddy doesn’t have the skills necessary to survive in the wild.
“He is completely ill-equipped to survive in the wild. He will have no idea where he is,” said Dylan Bailey, the manager of the Bayworld Oceanarium. “Luckily, he was a very healthy penguin - actually quite fat - so he has a good few weeks of reserves.”
Buddy is tagged on one of his flippers and has a microchip embedded in his body that will make identification easier; unfortunately, that chip doesn’t include GPS, so there’s no way to track the penguin and find it easily.
Experts will have the search the wild far and wide for Buddy and check the flippers of all spotted penguins until they find their lost specimen.
“We are optimistic,” Bailey said. “We have hope he will come ashore before he becomes too weak.”
Fortunately, Buddy may have enough body fat to keep him afloat in the wild for a little while, making it a little easier on search teams to continue their search.
Unfortunately, since Buddy is lacking the hunting skills necessary to survive long-term in the wild, it’s unlikely he would be able to survive on his own for lone. With that being said, experts are rushing to try and find him.
Bailey acknowledges that the two men had good intentions, but their actions may have long-term consequences for the penguin itself. They were charged by authorities and brought into court where they were let off with a warning.
Security cameras captured the two young men during their hoist, and can be watched below: