The young bird went missing from the Luisenpark in Mannheim on Saturday, sparking a police investigation.
A passer-by found the penguin’s body on Thursday morning, mounted on a fence on the edge of a nearby car park.
A spokesperson for Mannheim Police told The Independent the Humboldt’s head had been removed.
Investigators are now hunting for the perpetrators, having found no evidence the penguin could have escaped its enclosure alone or been attacked by a wild animal.
The penguin, identified by the number 53 on its wing, is being examined by veterinary surgeons before the results are passed to the commissioner for animal protection.
“Mannheim prosecutor's office has opened an investigation against unknown persons,” a spokesperson said, launching a police appeal for witnesses.
Joachim Költzsch, the director of Luisenpark, said: “The incident with our missing penguin could not have had a more tragic outcome.
“Our employees and visitors had an emotional attachment to the animal.
“All of us, especially the zookeepers who took care of the animal every day, are shaken by the death and also by the way such little respect was given for a living creature.”
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