A penguin was found on the street in Dublin today after being stolen from the zoo in a suspected prank.
The female penguin was kidnapped by a gang of men at about 8am from the Phoenix Park and discovered several hours later a few miles away in the north inner city.
It is believe the men broke in to the zoo before carrying the penguin out and making off in a taxi.
Gardaí said officers were alerted to the theft this morning.
Staff at the zoo confirmed that a penguin missing from the facility had been returned.
"Dublin Zoo is naturally relieved that the animal is safe and unharmed and back in the zoo," a statement said.
"However, we wish to underline our annoyance about this incident.
"The welfare and health of all animals is our primary concern and this kind of incident is not frivolous and is certainly not something amusing."
The zoo said the incident was a criminal matter and was now in the hands of the Gardaí.
t is understood the penguin was tracked through a microchip, fitted to all animals in the zoo.
The penguin at the centre of the kidnap ordeal was a 10-year-old female called Kelli. She is a Humboldt, a small breed native to parts of South America, mainly Chile.
Zoo staff reported the creature was none the worse for her outing after being safely returned to her mate Mick.
It is understood the pranksters climbed into the pen holding the penguins and stole Kelli. There were no reports of any damage to zoo property.