Ben HaywardJuly 15th
2019

A pair of mischievous ‘waddling vagrants’ have been released by police after they were detained for setting up home under a sushi bar. 

The two little blue penguins were picked up by police in Wellington, New Zealand after a shop worker heard them making a cooing, humming sound. According to Radio NZ, the penguins were hiding out near the warmth of the grills beneath the sushi stand.

Writing on their Facebook page, Wellington police confirmed that the penguins - described as ‘little and blue’ had been picked up by Constable John Zhu, who responded, ‘after sensing something fishy’. 

However, this was not the first report police had received about the birds… They were first spotted on Monday at dawn outside the Wellington railway station before then heading for shelter under the nearby Sushi Bi.

According to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) the birds are quite common in Wellington harbour, which is home to about 600 pairs of penguins. However, this is the first time the agency had heard of them setting up home in the station.

Locals have been warned to keep their distance from the penguins, as they have been known to bite!

Wini Morris, who works at the sushi shop, told Radio NZ she heard the birds making a ‘cooing, humming sound’. “It’s pretty insane the idea that some penguins are camping out under your shop,” she said. “But it’s adorable I think - they’re probably terrified but it’s adorable.”

Sadly, the little blue penguins conservation status is considered to be ‘at risk’ to ‘declining’ so after Constable Zhu removed the pair, the DOC and Wellington Zoo were then contacted.

“With some inter-agency cooperation the adventurous pair were released back into Wellington Harbour,” police said.

DOC volunteer Mike Rumble, who helped remove the penguins tsaid it was wishful thinking to hope they might stay in the nesting box they were placed in on the waterfront.

"It's a natural characteristic of the penguins - they will always return to where they possibly were nesting.

"That's why here, tonight, even though this is a good 200m-300m away, I wouldn't be surprised if the owner of the sushi bar says 'they're back'.

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