This story is for all you animal lovers out there. Pete the Penguin – a star attraction at San Diego’s SeaWorld – has proved that his species can fly, contrary to popular belief.
The South American Magellan Penguin was allowed to stretch his legs on a trans-American flight from San Fransisco back to California, where he lives.
The bird had been at a science convention earlier in the day and turned heads when he walked along the aisle on the 90-minute trip to San Diego.
As he sauntered around, his SeaWorld’ keepers gave those flying on the Southwest flight a free lecture on penguins over the in-flight intercom.
And his fellow passengers stared in amazement, as the Arctic bird, usually more at home in the sea than in the air, seemed to take it all in his stride.
Word of the unexpected passenger began to spread across the internet last week when videos uploaded by those on the flight began to appear on YouTube.
Magellanic Penguins take their name from the Magellan Strait, in Chile, where they originate from and live to between 25 and 30 years old.
Despite the millions that inhabit the coastlines of Chile and Argentina, they are classed as a threatened species due to their vulnerability to oil spills, which kill around 20,000 adults and 22,000 youngsters every year.
Unlike most animals, Magellanic Penguins mate for life, usually meeting the same partner year after year.
The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and waits to reconnect with his female partner, who is able to recognise her mate through his call alone. [via The Telegraph (UK), Daily Mail (UK) and Mirror (UK)]