HeraldLIVE

Editorial: Puzzling reaction to penguin theft

There is much about the disappearance of Buddy the penguin that leaves one very puzzled indeed.

The bird went missing from the penguin enclosure at Bayworld last Wednesday and has still not been found.

What makes the case even more bizarre is that the two men who (through a legal representative) have owned up to removing Buddy are known to Bayworld, whose director is now refusing to make their identities known to the public and media.

This despite the fact that Bayworld actively sought our paper and readers’ help when Buddy’s disappearance first became known.

One wonders what possible reason Bayworld could have for protecting the identity of these culprits. Some would argue this only serves to condone their actions.

And, if these two were so easily able to access the facility and steal a penguin, what stops others from attempting to do the same?

Regardless of how they might justify their actions, the two committed a crime by entering Bayworld unlawfully and taking what was not theirs to take.

There is nothing that entitles them to protection, yet it appears the facility’s director does not intend to press charges, raising even more questions.

We can only hope that the police will still pursue the matter. We also feel strongly that the culprits should indeed be identified.

And, if their intentions really were as pure as Bayworld would have us believe – we are told the men were “animal lovers” who simply wanted the bird to be free – then let them explain themselves to the public.

Even if their intentions were noble (which the more cynical among us may struggle with, not least because the men were seen taking selfies inside the facility in the early hours) the reality is that Buddy simply is not equipped to survive outside of a properly managed, captive situation.

Assuming he is still alive, Buddy will now find himself in a frightening and unfamiliar environment in which he will more than likely perish.

We urge readers to keep a lookout for Buddy. There is still a slim chance he may be found, and reintroduced to his mate and chicks.