Three men who allegedly stole a penguin from Sea World have been caught because they bragged about it on Facebook.
Dirk the fairy penguin is now recovering at the Gold Coast marine park after he was stolen and released in the Broadwater over the weekend.
Sea World staff and Dirk's penguin partner, Peaches, are relieved to have him back.
"He wouldn't have survived in the wild, not at all," said Sea World's Trevor Long. "He would have been an ideal target for a bull shark during the day or dogs and cats."
Dirk was found hiding under the concrete of Southport pier. He was said to be very afraid and distressed when Sea World staff rescued him.
"It's totally foreign to this animal and it's very, very cruel,'' said Mr Long.
The three men aged 18, 20 and 21, will appear in court next month charged with trespassing, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal.