Devastating floods in Tbilisi
led to the mass escape of animals from the city’s zoo over a week ago.
It was mostly a sad story as
authorities with guns hunted down wild animals in the streets of the flooded
Georgian capital. The hunt became more urgent when an escaped tiger attacked
and killed a Tbilisi resident.
Hundreds of animals died
during the disastrous flooding, while others, including a hippo, crocodile and
the man-killing tiger, escaped and roamed Tbilisi’s streets until rounded up or
shot. The shootings have drawn wide criticism.
But one small escapee not
only managed to survive the chaos – he went on quite the adventure. The
ambitious African penguin went on a big swim, travelling 60 km. downstream from
Tbilisi via the Kura River.
The flightless bird was
finally sighted by guards near the historic Red Bridge on the border of Georgia
and Azerbaijan. Without a passport, the penguin could go no further.
“Fifteen minutes ago they
called us and told us that a penguin is swimming near the Red Bridge,” zoo
management announced jubilantly. “He is alive. A group went to bring him back
Georgia plans to create a new
zoo in a better location, high above the water.