Baby Jackass Penguin stolen from Amazon World Zoo Park

Isle of Wight, Southern Britain, England

Dec. 16, 2005

(Photo courtesy of Reuters) Toga an 18 inch tall baby jackass penguin was stolen form the Amazon World Zoo Park.  $13,000 in donations – including $600 from the United States has been offered as a reward for the safe return of the 9-pound South African penguin.

It is believed the thieves may have climbed over a 6ft out wall before climbing over an 8 ft metal and concrete barrier to steal Toga.

Toga is too young to have yet had a gender confirmed but traditionally is referred to as a male.

The penguin’s parents Kyala and Oscar mourned the loss of the 3-month old Toga for several weeks.

Zookeepers are worried that Toga will starve to death.  The penguin was still being fed by his parents putting food directly down the baby’s throat.  Toga wouldn’t know how to find food and wouldn’t accept any from humans.  Veterinarians estimated the penguin would survive only 5 days away from his parents.

The Royal Navy has been looking for Toga around Portsmouth Harbor after a television show received a call that the penguin had been dumped into the harbor in a plastic bag.  A boater reported seeing what he thinks might have been Toga in the harbor.

Toga might have been stolen by a collector of exotic animals – there are only about 170,000 South African jackass penguins in the wild and 150 in British Zoos.  Toga was the first penguin born at Amazon World.

One clue that migh help identify Toga is his distinctive cry - jackass penguins are so-called because they sound like a donkey.

Update:  February 14, 2006

Kyala and Oscar hatched another chick, dubbed Temba, meaning hope..  Toga has not been found.


The Washington Post

BBC News

ABC News


New Zealand Herald