Voice 1: The National Aquarium of New Zealand is situated in Napier, a coastal city in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island. The aquarium buildings, stretching along the North Parade next to the sea, are home to over a hundred salt and fresh water animals and fish from all over the world.
Voice 2: Back in April, the usually calm aquarium hit the headlines when one of its guests decided he’d had enough of living in a luxury tank and made a successful break for freedom.
Voice 1: In a storyline straight out of the movie Finding Dory, Inky the octopus clambered out of his tank during the night and decided to head back to the ocean. When staff arrived to give Inky his breakfast, they found that the lid on the tank was slightly ajar, and there was no sign of the eight-legged creature. He’d vanished into thin air.
Voice 2: Inky’s keeper is absolutely certain that no foul play was involved in the mystery of the disappearing octopus. He hadn’t been stolen or kidnapped. Security is too tight in the aquarium buildings for anyone to sneak in and take Inky, and besides, why would anyone want to?
Voice 1: Inky was brought to the aquarium a couple of years ago by a local fisherman who found him trapped in a crayfish net. He was quite badly injured. He had been fighting to get out of the trap, and before getting caught in the net pot, he’d been living on a nearby coral reef that had damaged his limbs.
Voice 2: With lots of tender loving care, Inky quickly recovered and adapted to his new life at the aquarium. But he obviously kept an eye on the wide open ocean outside. He was intelligent, friendly and inquisitive.He always wanted to know what was going on around him.
Voice 1: Inky was roughly the size of a football. Because octopuses have no bones in their body they can squeeze through extremely small spaces. The clue to solving the mystery of the missing octopus was in the slightly open tank lid.
Voice 2: They have been known to get through holes the size of coins. They can also work out how to use simple tools. A previous octopus at the aquarium learned how to take the lid off a jar.
Voice 1: Staff at the National Aquarium believe that during the night, Inky climbed to the top of his tank, through the open lid and then down the side. Next he crossed the floor of the aquarium until he found a hole in the wall at floor level. This hole just happened to be the mouth of a 50-metre drainpipe that led into the sea.
Voice 2: Then it was bye-bye Inky. Staff don't believe that their favourite octopus was lonely or unhappy. He was just curious and he sensed that the ocean wasn't far away. Rob Yarrrell, manager of the aquarium, says ‘You never know. There is always a chance that Inky could come home to us’. But Rob is not holding his breath. Just keep away from fishermen’s nets now, Inky! And good luck!