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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Three penguin chicks stolen from Norwegian aquarium

The park manager said he fears the chicks may now be dead as it was too early for them to be away from their parents.

Image: Peter Byrne/PA

AUTHORITIES SAY AT least four Norwegian teenagers are suspected of stealing a Humboldt penguin egg and three newly-hatched penguin babies from an animal park in western Norway.

Police spokesman Yngve Skovly said seven people were seen on a security video climbing over a fence last week to enter an enclosure where the three-week-old babies lived at the Atlanterhavsparken saltwater aquarium outside Aalesund.

Skovly said on Friday that four students confessed to trespassing but deny theft. They face fines or up to one year in prison if convicted. The vocational school students had visited the park earlier Wednesday.

Police said the suspects were aged between 18 and 19, but declined to comment on whether the crime was believed to be linked to graduation celebrations.

In Norway, high school students celebrate their graduation in May with weeklong parties that often include drunkenness, pranks and dares.

Park manager Tor Erik Standal told The Associated Press he feared the penguin babies were dead by now because they “desperately need their parents to survive.”

The penguin babies that weigh about 300 grams each, “should have been in their nest for a couple of weeks more before going outside,” according to Standal.

The theft was discovered Thursday morning, and about 100 people, some with dogs, searched for the penguins.

Read: Just some little penguins, wandering adorably around an aquarium>

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