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Missing: Small bird in tuxedo

Officials have posted "Wanted Alive" posters with pictures of the penguin at waterfront businesses.  

TACOMA, Washington (CNN) -- Zoo officials in Tacoma, Washington urged the public to be on the lookout for a tiny escapee.

A magellanic penguin chick disappeared Friday from the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.

There was no sign of a break-in, or that a predator got into the Penguin Point exhibit and grabbed the 6.5 pound bird.

"What we think happened is that one of the chicks went either over or under the mesh, the barrier we've put to keep them in and from there hopped up on the rocks and out," said Karen Goodrowe of the Defiance Zoo.

The zoo is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Marine Fisheries Service and state and local agencies to try to find the missing penguin.

Officials have also posted "Wanted Alive" posters with pictures of the penguin at waterfront businesses.

(253) 404-3636  
A baby penguin has somehow escaped the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. Affiliate KING has more. (August 10)

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The bird has black feathers with a white chest and looks like an adult bird, except its stripes are not as pronounced.

It has orange bands on each wing and officials said it could resemble a small seal in the water.

Anyone who sees the chick is urged to call a special zoo hotline at (253) 404-3636.

Zoo officials warn that people should not try to catch it on their own.

"Those little beaks are pretty sharp and they could be pretty adept at poking things," Goodrowe said.

The chick was one of four magellanic penguins born at the zoo in May. They had been separated from their parents in recent weeks so that they could learn to swim and feed themselves.

The other chicks were being moved to a more secure area to make sure they don't try to join their sibling on the lam.

The penguins can be found in the wild along the shores of South America, from Argentina to Chile.




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