The little birds were found nesting under a refrigerator at the sushi shop in Wellington’s largest railway station early Monday. The shop owner called police to deal with the lovebirds, who appeared to have set up a nest near the sushi shop grills.
“The waddling vagrants were removed from their sushi stand refuge,” Wellington District Police announced in a Facebook post on Monday.
But the rogue penguins refused to obey their eviction notice, and they were spotted back at the shop a few hours later.
Police ultimately called in conservation officials to help give the birds the boot.
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It’s not unusual for New Zealanders to call in the authorities when dealing with penguins, according to Jack Mace, manager for the New Zealand Department of Conservation. Penguins are absolutely protected under New Zealand law, and members of the public can’t do anything if they spot the birds in an inconvenient place.
“You can’t touch them, pick them up, handle them or harm them in any way,” Mace told Reuters.
He added that calls often surge in July due to penguin breeding patterns.
“Around this time of year penguins around the harbour are coming in and they’re trying to identify a place where they and their mate can set up shop to lay eggs later on in August,” Mace told Reuters.
“We do get a few calls about them nesting under people’s houses,” he added. “But certainly the busiest railway station in Wellington is an unusual one.”
The penguins have won hearts and minds on the internet, where many people praised them for their determination.
“Must have been all that raw fish!” Facebook user Ann Rands wrote.
“Little rascals!” added Lisa Marie.
User Marsie TP offered police some advice for preventing more penguin-related disturbances in the future.
“Don’t forget,” she wrote. “Get fingerprints of the culprit.”