Runaway penguin 'No 337' to be named in Japan
The evasive penguin who avoided recapture for 82 days is to be named through a competition hosted by the Tokyo aquarium.
Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Humboldt penguin No. 337 is seen at Tokyo Sea Life Park after it was rescued. (Photo: Tokyo Sea Life Park/AFP Global Edition)
A penguin whose break-out from an aquarium in Japan gave him a following around the world is to be formally named after months of being known just by his number, an official said June 25.
Humboldt penguin No. 337 spent 82 days at large in and around Tokyo Bay after bolting his enclosure, evading aquarium staff, an army of public onlookers and even Japan's well-equipped coastguard.
But until his recapture last month and subsequent thorough medical check-up, keepers did not even know what gender the plucky escapee was, and had insisted he did not have a name.
Now officials at Tokyo Sea Life Park have launched a competition asking visitors to think of what the bird should be called.
"We decided to give him a pet name by soliciting ideas and their reasons from visitors," said aquarium official Takashi Sugino.
"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," he said.
Visitors were asked to watch the creature — now safely back in his enclosure — before putting their suggestion in a box, Sugino said, admitting the aquarium was expecting a spike in numbers.
Nominations ended on July 1, said Sugino, adding "a naming committee comprising the aquarium director, the vice director and keepers will pick the most appropriate name."
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition