Penguins ‘Under Arrest’ in New Zealand After Their Sushi Caper Goes South

Sushi is one of those wonderful foods you either love or hate, and you can count me among the lovers. I know, I know, it’s a fishy treat but that wasabi — man, that really makes the dish. These two tiny culprits in New Zealand really enjoy their sushi too and have an adorable run-in with the law.

Cute culprits also have a taste for sushi

The penguins made their home under a sushi truck. Screen capture by Inside Edition via YouTube

Just over a week ago, a staffer knew something was going on after hearing a “cooing, humming” sound emanating from the warm food grills beneath the truck, Fox News reports.

So the Wellington Police Department did an inspection and found the “waddling vagrants” making themselves comfortable under the vehicle — for the second time that day. Police reps. reported that Constable John Zhu was on soon on the scene, having sensed that “something was fishy.”

The culprits were surprising

A couple of penguins have been released following temporary detainment by Wellington Police. 🐧The waddling vagrants…

Posted by Wellington District Police on Sunday, July 14, 2019
Constable Zhu with one of the feathery suspects.

It appears that a pair of little blue penguins were the guilty party, probably smelling all that tasty fish. Police worked with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Wellington Zoo to make sure the little wanderers made it back to sea.

One half of the guilty party. Screen capture by Inside Edition via YouTube

“It’s pretty insane the idea that some penguins are camping out under your shop,” said Wini Morris, a worker at the shop, in an interview with a local radio station. “But it’s adorable — I think they’re probably terrified but it’s adorable.”

The blue-gray thieves weren’t as sneaky as they thought. At dawn, someone spotted them right outside the Wellington railway station, The Guardian reports.

Minutes later they took cover under the truck. But the DOC already had the goods on these two, as it has been monitoring them for a while.

Were the penguins looking for a nesting site?

Wellington Harbour, where these cute birds live. Screen capture by Inside Edition via YouTube

It’s around this time of the year the little guys typically start looking around. The birds lay their eggs in August. The little penguins are very common in Wellington Harbour.

It’s the first time, however, that anyone’s heard of them setting up shop under a food truck.

The DOC warns that while little blue penguins can be cute, they can also bite. Which means it’s best to keep your fingers to yourself.

Blue penguins are cute, but they are in trouble

Little blue penguins at the Cologne Zoo in Germany. Photo by Frank Wouters, license CC 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

And unfortunately, like so many other beautiful species, these penguin’s conservation status is “at-risk” — their populations are declining.

These little fellas are the smallest of the world’s penguins. As such, they have earned the name “fairy penguin,” Penguins-World reports. In fact, full-grown adults only weigh 2.6 pounds!

Why are blue penguins in trouble?

Brown skuas are known to prey upon penguin chicks. Photo by Francesco Veronesi, CC SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Skuas, Gulls, and sheathbills are the natural predators of these penguins. Unfortunately, rats, dogs, and cats have moved in too, and they also prey upon these flightless birds.

Neglected fishing nets and other types of marine pollution are also a problem. Food shortages are forcing little blue penguins to swim further afield, causing them to expend more energy and making them vulnerable to predators.

How New Zealanders can help these precious penguins

The DOC makes several recommendations:

  • Only take your dogs to places that allow them. Keep them under control at all times.
  • Leave nesting birds alone. Yes, they are cute but remember they do bite.
  • Don’t leave old fishing lines on the beach or in the ocean. (If you can, why not remove them if you can?)
  • Follow the Water Care Code and local navigation rules.
  • If you own a cat, be sure to put bells on its collar.
  • If its an outdoor kitty make sure you feed it well.
  • Volunteer to control predators and restore bird habitats.

Watch the video below see the adorable miscreants up close:

Featured Image from the video above

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