Peru's National Police rescued a Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) that was found living in miserable conditions at a recreational center in the Monsefu district of the northern region of Lambayeque, the National Forestry and Wildlife Service, or Serfor, said Saturday in a communique.
Agents of the Environmental Division of the National Police found the adult penguin in satisfactory health, living in an area of some 20 sq. meters (215 sq. feet) surrounded by a wire fence.
Police found that the center lacked authorization from the Technical Administration of Forestry and Wildlife, or ATFFS, of Lambayeque to keep wildlife, which must be based on a management plan with sanitary controls, regulated spaces, feeding schedule and proof of legal origin.
Police authorities went to the recreational center after a citizen reported that the penguin was living "in a filthy environment next to buckets of leftover food scraps."
The informer said the penguin had a temperature-controlled pool, but could hardly move in it because of the heat of the environment where it was kept.
Serfor said it would take the necessary steps "in order to take custody of the specimen and transport it immediately" to a suitable facility.
The Humboldt penguin is a bird protected by the Peruvian government under the classification of a species in danger of extinction, and is also included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, or CITES, which mandates its worldwide protection.
The Penal Code of Peru establishes a penalty of 3 to 5 years for those who acquire, sell, transport, store, import or export products or specimens of wild flora or fauna that are not of legal origin.