Japan's Fugitive Penguin to be Given Name by Public Competition
A Humboldt penguin in Tokyo Sea Life Park, Japan, photographed on January 29, 2011. (minoir/Flickr)
It's a prison break story worthy of its own show: 24 inches high and about a year old, a plucky, flightless bird known only as "Number 337" climbed over a rock wall twice its height at Tokyo Sea Life Park, back in March, and made a dash for freedom into Tokyo Bay. The Humboldt penguin evaded capture — and while many feared the worst for its fate, due to the bay's pollution, it was spotted happily swimming there two months later.
Now, having been recaptured and battling pink-eye, this adventurous water bird is the subject of a public naming contest sponsored by Tokyo Sea Life Park. Suggestions are being accepted until July 1; park staff will decide on the winner.
- Papillon (パピヨン)/McQueen (マックイーン)/Hoffman (referencing the 1973 movie Papillon, about two criminals plotting to break out of prison on Devil's Island)
- Eastwood (イーストウッド)
- Stallone (スタローン)/Rambo (ランボー)
- Michael Scofield (マイケル・スコフィールド) (from the TV series Prison Break)
- Deserter (脱走兵)
- Little Shawshank (リトルショーシャンク) (from the movie The Shawshank Redemption)
- Itao Itsuji (板尾創路) (from a 2010 Japanese movie Itao Itsuji the Jailbreak King 板尾創路の脱獄王)
- Nemo (ニモ)
- Houdini (フーディーニ)
- Chuck Norris (チャックノリス)
Watch: The Guardian's video of the escaped penguin in Tokyo Bay (1 min., 13 sec.)