The flightless birds seemingly soar without any CG or image-doctoring.
However, there’s a limit to even the strangeness one can find in Japan. For example, we recently learned that Japanese fish cannot, in fact, levitate. But what about flying penguins?
These photos, taken by Japanese Twitter user @phagetypet40, show the supposedly flightless birds gliding majestically past a high-rise condominium in downtown Tokyo. One of the animals even seems to be soaring right above the photographer’s head.
サンシャイン水族館、リニューアル屋外エリア「天空のオアシス」内覧会にご招待いただき、最新式のペンギン水槽を見た。 ペンギンは空を飛べないとか言ったのはどこの誰だ。 https://t.co/UAvFvp9JE6—
早川いくを「愛のへんないきもの」近々発売 (@phagetypet40) July 06, 2017
So what’s actually going on here? @phagetypet40 explains, tweeting:
“I was invited to an advance preview of the renovated Heavenly Oasis section of the Sunshine Aquarium, where I got to see their cutting-edge water tank. Who says penguins can’t fly?”
As mentioned, the Sunshine Aquarium, located in downtown Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood, has recently redesigned its penguin habitat. Part of their new home, which is open to the public as of July 12, is a unique curved swim tank, which allows human visitors to walk directly underneath the shallow portion before the tank’s bottom curves into a vertical wall at the deeper section.
▼ The curved portion can be seen at the far right of the image below.
Since the aquarium is on a rooftop, and the penguin habitat is at the edge of the facility, beyond the clear glass of the tank is an expansive view of the Tokyo skyline, which makes it look like the penguins are flying instead of swimming.
今日も激しく暑かった〜😵 すいすい〜っと、気持ち良さげなペンギンちゃん♡池袋サンシャイン水族館の天空のペンギンにて🐧 https://t.co/ewudUgYghz—
テテテ (@otetete10) July 08, 2017
So don’t worry. Penguins, already able to swim swiftly and waddle adorably, haven’t become world-dominating triple threats by adding flight to their repertoire of mobility skills. These ones have just moved into a new place with a really nice view.