Penguins taken into custody after sushi shop stakeout

Penguins taken into custody after sushi shop stakeout

Oh, the things we'd do for some sushi scraps and warmth. That was precisely the idea two small birds had in New Zealand.

According to The Guardian, after hearing cooing and humming, Sushi Bi employees found two small, blue penguins near the restaurant's grills, which they speculated kept them toasty after flocking to the smell of fish.

But this isn't the first time that the penguins have wandered from Wellington Harbour, where around 600 of them hang out. They've been found at Sushi Bi before, after crossing several traffic lanes - walking West from the harbour and past Wellington Station - to get their fill of rolled fish and rice.

And, on Saturday, a lone-wolf penguin was found on Featherston Street before being returned to the harbour.

Credit: RNZ

The two birds at Sushi Bi were also released into Wellington Harbour after police detained them. Constable Zhu removed the penguins from the shop before calling the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Wellington Zoo.

These occasions mark some of the first times these penguins have ventured from the harbour, and it is likely that this breed will return for sushi, especially if they've started nesting at the restaurant. As a result, the DOC is monitoring them, especially as the species is at risk, and on the verge of decline.

Credit: Wellington Police

DOC Wellington operations manager, Jack Mace, said that this time of year typically coincides with mating penguins who scour sites to lay eggs - even though they won't need a nest till later in the winter.

Wellington District Police posted an update on Facebook with the caption:

"The waddling vagrants were removed from their sushi stand refuge earlier today by Constable John Zhu. Unsurprisingly, this was not the first report Police had received about the fishy birds. We received a call about 8:40 p.m. on Saturday night of a penguin on the road in Featherston Street. Police responded and with some help from members of the public released the penguin, described as 'little and blue,' back into the sea."

Credit: RNZ

"Then today, about 6:35 a.m., Police received another report of the penguin, this time with a companion, near Wellington Railway Station. Constable Zhu responded and, after sensing something fishy, established that the penguins were nesting underneath a food truck near the station. DOC and Wellington Zoo were contacted, and with some inter-agency cooperation the adventurous pair were released back into Wellington Harbour."

Credit: Getty

Wini Morris, who works at the sushi shop, said: “It’s pretty insane the idea that some penguins are camping out under your shop. But it’s adorable I think - they’re probably terrified but it’s adorable.”

Though they may be cute, people are advised not to get too close, as the penguins are known to bite. Regardless, what a sweet story about some small birds who just wanted easy fish without the work.