Zoo keepers are worried that a four-month-old stolen penguin may die if he doesn't get the care he needs.
Toga, a rare Blackfoot penguin, was snatched from Amazon World on the Isle of Wight on Saturday evening.
Keepers say he's just a baby who needs to be with his mum and dad and will not take food from humans.
Karen Bright, manager at Amazon World, said: "If he is not found quickly he will die as he relies on his parents for food."
Toga, who is 18in (45cm) tall, was the first and only baby Blackfoot penguin to be born under the zoo's endangered species scheme.
He is not as cuddly as he looks and will bite when frightened. He needs a special diet with supplements and he also needs to be kept cool, with plenty of fresh water he can splash about in.
Blackfoot penguins are also known as Jackass penguins because they make a sound like a donkey braying.
There are about 150-200 of the rare and endangered breed in the UK.
Ms Bright added: "Toga will start to become very ill after about five days without food.
"We feed his parents marine fish containing salt tablets and vitamins, which they regurgitate and then feed to him."
A police spokesman said: "If you have knowledge of the whereabouts of Toga the penguin, ring Amazon World and zoo staff will come and collect him."
LONDON - A baby penguin thought to have been snatched from a zoo as a quirky festive gift is unlikely to survive until Christmas Day, his keeper warned Tuesday.
Toga, a three-month old jackass penguin, was stolen from Amazon World on the Isle of Wight in southern England on Saturday.
Zoo manager Kath Bright said the bird, who was taken from a compound where he lived with his parents and four other penguins, would probably die of malnutrition if not urgently returned.
"Toga is very, very vulnerable. The penguin is still being fed by his parents and we don't believe it could survive more than five days," she told The Associated Press.
"The bird has already been missing for around three days and is likely to be severely dehydrated. If he isn't returned before Thursday he is likely to become so ill that even intensive care treatment won't save him."
The brown and white penguin will bite if frightened and refuses to be fed by human hand, Bright said. Toga is too young to have yet had a gender confirmed, but along with tradition, is referred to as a male, she added..
Bright said there was no sign of forced entry to the pen, but said a thief would have been able to climb into the compound and carry Toga away.
"We can't understand what may have been going through the thief's head, but we are worried someone decided a penguin would make the perfect Christmas gift," she added. "There has been a lot of attention because of the film 'March of the Penguins.' Perhaps someone saw the film and thought their wife or girlfriend would be thrilled to have one as a present."
The French movie was a box-office hit and has been credited with drawing tourists to penguin spotting sites across the world.
only if it becomes his new avatar
Are you a jackass penguin too Aimless?
What ever excuse you want to use is fine by us...