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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Penguins in Texas highway crash
Gentoo penguin (file photo)
Three of the penguins that died were gentoo
Texas highway patrol officers carried out one of their strangest rescues after a truck carrying 25 penguins, an octopus and exotic fish overturned.

The unusual load was being transported from Indianapolis Zoo to the Texas tourist attraction Moody Gardens in Galveston when the accident happened.

Four of the penguins and some of the tropical fish died, while the driver and passenger sustained minor injuries.

The survivors were later taken on to Galveston and said to be doing well.

Trooper Richard Buchanan, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the penguins were thrown out of the truck after it overturned in the east of the state.

One rockhopper penguin died in the crash and a further three gentoo penguins were killed by oncoming traffic.

"The rest of the penguins kind of stayed together in a ditch," he said.

The octopus - who, like the fish, was being transported in a plastic bag - appeared unharmed, officials said. A few of the fish died after their bags burst.


The wildlife was being transported to Moody Gardens while work on a new exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo was being finished.

After the accident, the survivors were taken to nearby Caldwell Zoo in Tyler to be examined before being moved on to Moody Gardens.

The zoo's Hayes Caldwell said many of the penguins had cuts and bruises, but added: "They're doing remarkably well for what they had been through."

Trooper Richard Buchanan said it was the first traffic accident he had ever handled involving penguins, and added that things could have been worse.

"There was another truck full of snakes and alligators that was an hour ahead of them," he said. "So luckily we didn't have to deal with the alligators."

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