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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Four teenagers suspected of stealing penguin babies in Norway

The penguin babies might now be dead because they need their parents to survive.
A Humbolt penguin is seen in its habitat at an aquarium in Aalesund on Norway's west coast on May 15. AP
A Humbolt penguin is seen in its habitat at an aquarium in Aalesund on Norway's west coast on May 15. AP

COPENHAGEN // Authorities say at least four Norwegian teenagers are suspected of stealing a Humboldt penguin egg and three newly-hatched penguin babies from an animal park in western Norway.

Police spokesman Yngve Skovly says seven people were seen on a security video climbing over a fence late on Wednesday to enter an enclosure where the three-week-old babies lived at the Atlanterhavsparken saltwater aquarium outside Aalesund.

Mr Skovly said Friday that four students confessed to trespassing but deny theft. They face fines or up to one year in prison if convicted. The vocational school students had visited the park earlier Wednesday.

Police said the suspects were aged between 18 and 19, but declined to comment on whether the crime was believed to be linked to graduation celebrations.

In Norway, high school students celebrate their graduation in May with weeklong parties that often include drunkenness, pranks and dares.

Park manager Tor Erik Standal said he feared the penguin babies were dead by now because they “desperately need their parents to survive.”

The penguin babies that weigh about 300 grams each, “should have been in their nest for a couple of weeks more before going outside,” Mr Standal said.

The theft was discovered on Thursday morning, and about 100 people, some with dogs, searched for the penguins.

The Humboldt penguins breed in Chile and Peru.

* Associated Press

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