A penguin has been found on a Dublin street after being stolen from the zoo in a suspected prank.
The female penguin, called Kelli, was kidnapped by a gang of men from Phoenix Park and discovered several hours later a few miles away in the north inner city.
It is believed the men broke in to the zoo before carrying the penguin out and making off in a taxi. In a statement, Dublin Zoo described the theft as an annoyance and "not amusing".
"Dublin Zoo confirms that a penguin which had been missing has been returned," a zoo official said.
"The penguin went missing on Thursday at 8am but due to the security measures that are in place at Dublin Zoo and the rapid response of gardai, the penguin was soon recovered and returned. Dublin Zoo was naturally relieved that the animal was returned safe and unharmed and back at the zoo.
"We wish to underline our annoyance at this incident. The welfare and health of all animals is our primary concern and this kind of incident is not frivolous and certainly not something amusing."
Zoo staff thanked the gardai for their help in tracing the stolen animal. It 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.