Penguin Survives Big Trip After Zoo Flooded Out

Open Jaw

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 to Tbilisi.”

Georgia plans to create a new zoo in a better location, high above the water.

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