Twenty-one penguins were rescued on a hot east Texas highway on Tuesday after a truck carrying the wildlife to a temporary home south of Houston overturned, said a state trooper.
Four penguins and some exotic fish were killed in the accident, including three penguins that were hit by passing motorists, said Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Richard Buchanan. “The rest of the penguins kind of stayed together in the ditch.”
The truck, also carrying an octopus that was uninjured, was bound for Moody Gardens, a tourist destination in Galveston, an hour south of Houston, a resort spokeswoman said.
The wildlife was being transported to Texas from the Indianapolis Zoo while the zoo’s ocean exhibit is being remodeled, said Jerri Hamacheck of Moody Gardens.
The trooper said it was the oddest traffic accident he had ever handled.
“We’ve worked several wrecks involving cows, horses, pigs, even fish, but this is the first where the live animals were penguins.”
He said he was glad the accident was not worse.
“There was another truck full of snakes and alligators that was an hour ahead of them, so luckily we didn’t have to deal with the alligators,” Buchanan said.
The first truck arrived safely in Galveston by late afternoon, Hamacheck said.