What do you call a penguin in the desert? LOST.
Okay, okay. Lima may not technically be a desert (it’s actually located in a river valley of Peru), but to the little misplaced penguin, Tomas, it might as well be! Tomas is a Humboldt penguin, an endangered species that is currently facing many threats such as the warming of South American waters during El Niño seasons.
When water temperatures rise, prey species of the penguin seek out cooler, nutrient-rich waters, leaving the penguins to starve. Unsurprisingly, humans also play a huge role in the plight of these flightless birds. Far too often, Humboldt penguins fall victim to nest destruction, poaching, or the exotic pet trade.
Luckily, Tomas was able to avoid these dangers by charming his way into the hearts of Lima residents by posing for pictures and stopping for brief visits. He even made his way up the ranks until he (briefly) became a part of the police department! After being examined by a vet, it was decided that Tomas would be taken back to his home at Palomino Island where he could reconnect with his family.
Lead image source: Aurelien Guichard / Wikimedia Commons