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PE men own up to stealing Buddy the penguin from Bayworld


Two young Port Elizabeth men have owned up to stealing Buddy the penguin from Bayworld.However, the two students in their early twenties said they had released Buddy into the ocean at Pollock Beach because they did not agree with penguins being kept in captivity.

Bayworld's, Dylan Bailey, says Buddy is a healthy penguin and should have enough energy to survive for up to three weeks in the wild.But, he says the concern is that Buddy is a captive raised bird that is now in wild and an unfamiliar environment.

"Wild juvenile penguins, called "blues", will spend up to two years at sea learning their environment and how to fend for themselves. Although Buddy was a very healthy penguin and should have enough energy to survive for up to three weeks in the wild, he is a captive raised bird that is now in a wild and an unfamiliar environment. He simply does not have the experience necessary to survive in the wild. All of the penguins and seals at Bayworld are either captive born or could not be released following stranding because they suffered debilitating injuries that would have reduced their ability to survive in the wild"

On Thursday, 22 September 2016, a curator in the oceanarium reported that penguin number 266, named "Buddy", could not be found for his monthly medical examination. The oceanarium was searched thoroughly but the bird could not be found.

Further investigation included the review of the security video footage from CCTV cameras located in the oceanarium. This revealed that in the early hours of Wednesday morning, a vehicle was seen parking next to the wall of the oceanarium and two unauthorized individuals were seen walking around inside the oceanarium grounds taking pictures with a cellphone camera and then entering in the penguin enclosure.

Shortly after the information about the incident was released via the media, a legal representative contacted Bayworld and stated that the individuals involved wished to come forward and admit their responsibility for the incident. Bayworld management and curators met with the individuals and their legal representatives to discuss the incident. According to Bailey the students realised the severity of the incident and decided to come forward.

Bayworld management will meet again with the individuals concerned and their legal council to decide on appropriate sanction.

Meanwhile staff from Bayworld and some volunteers started searching for Buddy along the coastline of Port Elizabeth.