Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You're Transporting What? Macaroni penguins officer.

You know the feeling of relief you get when you return home after a long trip? Magnify that by 100 and you'll know how we all felt when the first penguins made it to the Tennessee Aquarium happy and healthy. Our day began before sunrise at the Pittsburgh Zoo. We worked with staffers to round up the four macaroni penguins that were coming to Chattanooga. The first three almost seemed eager to come with us. But one of the older females was wise to us, and stayed in the water trying to keep us at flipper's length away. We finally coaxed her out of the water and she seemed content joining her feathered friends. Everything was planned out in advance to make the journey as smooth as silk for the penguins. One thing we hadn't planned on was the Pennsylvania State Police. All the proper paperwork was in place, but when the trooper asked our truck driver what we were hauling, he called for a complete inspection. At weigh stations trucks are randomly selected for searches. We figured when the trooper heard we were hauling macaroni penguins, he called for the inspection just so he could get a close look at these neat animals. We imagined him talking with his trooper buddies later saying, "No really. I inspected a load of penguins today." The rest of the trip was uneventful. When we arrived at the Tennessee Aquarium at the end of the day, we were tired and the birds were hungry. They immediately chowed down on some smelt and capelin, and then they were ready for some serious splash time.

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