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Abducted penguin rescued from shark-infested waters

Dirk the penguin is lucky to be alive, after a wild night of partying left three Australian men in police custody, with video showing them sneaking into Sea World, swimming with dolphins, and pilfering the little marine animal.

A penguin from Sea World in Australia was reunited with his mates on Monday after he was abducted from his home over the weekend.

On Sunday night, a local couple spotted Dirk, a 7-year-old fairy penguin, under a pier after hearing him splashing in shark-infested waters. They called Sea World, which quickly dispatched a rescue team. 

Sea World Australia via AFP - Getty Images

Dirk, a 7-year-old fairy penguin, was abducted as a prank, chased by a dog and left struggling in shark-infested waters before he was rescued.

Dirk was born in captivity and had “never experienced things like boats, or wide open spaces,” Sea World Gold Coast's director of marine sciences Trevor Long said Monday. “He was quite distressed, quite dishevelled, you could see that he was upset. His chest was heaving so I think that he had been through quite an ordeal.”

The rescue came just in time, as Dirk had no chance of surviving in the wild, Long said, adding that the couple saw him get spooked out of the water by an animal, likely a shark, only to get chased back in by a dog.

The pint-sized penguin spent the night under observation and joined the 27 or so other penguins in the enclosure, including his breeding partner, Peaches, on Monday morning.

Police have charged three men with trespassing, stealing, and unlawfully keeping a protected animal. The men who released Dirk into the wild were caught after boasting about the crime on Facebook. Watch video of their escapades.

This was the first time an animal has been stolen from Sea World and the center is now reviewing its security procedures.

Watch TODAY's report from earlier in the week on Dirk's rescue.