After escaping from the Tokyo Sea Life Park aquarium and spending 82 days on the loose in and around the Tokyo Bay, the Humboldt penguin that earned headlines around the world is finally ready to be given a real name. Up until now, and even prior to its escape, the penguin was known to staff only as “number 337,” because at its age it is very difficult to determine its gender just by looking at it. After being recaptured last month, and given a full health checkup, the penguin is back in the aquarium for visitors to observe, and the park officials are ready to give the bird a name.
The Tokyo Sea Life Park has begun a campaign asking visitors to suggest names for the penguin. Takashi Sugino, an aquarium official, has said they are soliciting names and the reasons behind them, as a special way showing gratitude to the public for providing information on their penguin sightings in the Tokyo Bay, as well as not trying to capture it themselves like the park requested. Name suggestions were accepted starting on June 15, and will continue to be until this Sunday, July 1st. A committee of the aquarium’s director, vice director, and animal keepers will decide on the name that suits the penguin the best.
After the penguin’s initial spotting in the Tokyo Bay by onlookers, followed by numerous more instances, both the aquariums keepers and even the coast guard were unable to get close enough to capture the bird. They believe it survived on eating small fish in the bay, and when it was finally captured in Chiba Prefecture towards the end of May, they determined he was safe and healthy, except for a case of pine-eye. He was successfully treated by veterinarians, and is now ready to shed his numeral identification for a real name.