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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 16:10 GMT
Baby penguin search is 'ongoing'
Toga the baby Jackass Penguin
The zoo offered a 1,000 reward for the return of Toga
A search for a baby penguin that was stolen from a zoo is continuing after a tip-off it had been found dumped.

Three-month-old Toga went missing from Amazon World on the Isle of Wight on Saturday night.

Zoo staff have spent the day searching for Toga after reports the penguin had been dumped at Portsmouth dockyard in a plastic bag.

Hampshire Constabulary said it was one of several lines of inquiry and that the investigation was "ongoing".

The zoo offered a 1,000 reward - with more than 2,000 more from donations - for the return of Toga, who they said would die without its mother.

Det Sgt Nick Heelan added that the force had taken "a number of false and malicious calls of alleged sightings of the penguin" which were "very unhelpful to this investigation".

The news of him being in a plastic bag doesn't sound good for his chances of being alive
Police spokeswoman

He said: "Like all allegations of theft, this incident is being taken very seriously. However, it is important that our resources are focused accordingly.

"We are liaising closely with the staff at Amazon World and our investigation is very much ongoing."

Police said they were also trying to find out if the dockyard report was a hoax.

Earlier, a police spokeswoman said: "Police are investigating after a man rang GMTV and said he had dumped it in a plastic bag at Portsmouth dockyard.

"The news of him being in a plastic bag doesn't sound good for his chances of being alive."

Rare breed

Toga lives on a special diet and needs to be kept cool, with access to plenty of fresh water and will not take food from humans.

It is thought thieves may have climbed over a 6ft (1.8m) outer wall at Amazon World, before clambering over an 8ft (2.4m) metal and concrete barrier to steal Toga.

Toga was the first South African Jackass Penguin to be bred at the island zoo. There are now only six adults left there, including Toga's parents.

There are about 150 to 200 of the rare and endangered breed in the UK.


SEE ALSO:
Reward offered for stolen penguin
21 Dec 05 |  Hampshire
Zoo burglars steal baby penguin
19 Dec 05 |  Hampshire
Series of pedigree dogs disappear
01 Dec 05 |  Hereford/Worcs
Owners' plea after donkeys stolen
27 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland


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