World Penguin Day
Penguins are one of the most charming, loveable, and impressive animals in the animal kingdom. Why not spend a day with these magnificent birds?
World Penguin Day is an educational and celebratory initiative that encourages people learn more about penguins, their environment, and the threats they face. Want to learn more about World Penguin Day? Let’s get started!
These black-and-white birds are well-adapted to aquatic life. Their wings have evolved to flippers, and their swimming skills allow them to dive up to 200m. Emperor penguins can even reach depths of 500m. To protect them from predators, they are camouflaged. Their glossy feathers trap air and keep them warm.
The size of penguins varies greatly. From the large emperor penguin that can reach heights over 1m to the small blue penguin which stands at 30cm, the little blue penguin is just over 30cm. There were giant penguin species that reached almost 2m in height and weighed 80 kg!
Penguins can be found all across the Southern Hemisphere from Antarctica to Galapagos Islands. They are known for their charming waddles and their tireless chick hatching efforts. For those who live in cold climates, they also have the ability to huddle to keep warm. Even their belly can glide over the ice while they toboggan!
World Penguin Day is celebrated during the annual northern migrations of Adelie penguins. This penguin species is only found in Antarctica. Adelie penguins migrate north in order to gain better food access during winter when sea ice expands. They then return to Antarctica’s coasts to build nests during summer.
McMurdo Station on Ross Island, America created this annual penguin celebration. Researchers discovered that Adelie penguins migrate around this time each year. They created World Penguin Day to celebrate the occasion and increase awareness about these animals.
Although the Adelie penguin is the origin of the day, it also celebrates all penguin species and raises awareness about the dire state of these water-loving animals. There are 17 species today, though the total number varies depending on which classification you use. However, there are at most 17 and maybe even 20! Unfortunately, 10 of these species have been declared endangered or vulnerable by International Union for Conservation of Nature. Three are considered to be near threatened.
Penguins spend as much as three quarters their lives at sea, and they rely on the oceans to provide food. These birds are at risk from overfishing and other pollution, such as oil spills and plastics. This has an adverse effect on the ecosystem. For the Antarctic species (the Adelie penguin and emperor penguin), climate change is shrinking sea ice. This not only impacts their habitat, but also affects chick hatching times.
World Penguin Day is a day to celebrate these magnificent animals and note the many plights they are facing. Some Penguin enthusiasts may want to make a difference and work to stop the burning of fossil fuels, protect the ocean, and prevent pollution.
It’s not surprising that penguins are so beloved!
These birds have been featured in many movies. Happy Feet, which stars a tap-dancing chick named Mumble, has an important environmental message at its core. Dreamwork’s Madagascar franchise also includes a Penguins of Madagascar movie as well as a TV series that follows the adventures of four penguins at Central Park Zoo.
These southern inhabitants are also big in children’s entertainment. For example, the film adaptation of Mr. Popper’s Penguins starring Jim Carey and Pingu which features a host penguins speaking the nonsense language ‘Penguinese’. Feathers McGraw is the villainous penguin in Wallace and Gromit. He initially disguises himself as a chicken to hide his crimes.
World Penguin Day offers a great opportunity to learn more about these fascinating and amazing creatures. Learn about the various penguin species around the globe and share some interesting facts with your family and friends. Documentaries can be a great way for you to see these animals in action. Why not check out March of the Penguins? It follows the difficult trek of Antarctica’s emperor penguins. Or Penguins, where Steve, an Adelie penguin starts his own family and overcomes many perils.
You can visit your local zoo, if you have the time. They will likely have penguins at their care. Some establishments allow visitors to feed the birds by throwing fish. You might consider donating to the conservation efforts of the zoo or to the non-profit organization Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. You can even adopt a penguin to receive updates about their progress!