“It’s practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.” Joe Moore
Penguins are some of the most adorable and lovable creatures on the planet. World Penguin Day is an educative initiative that encourages people to learn more about penguins, their environment, and how important they are to the ecosystem.
Here are some fun penguin facts:
• They live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galapagos Penguin, found north of the equator.
• Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall.
• The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.
• A penguin’s striking colouring is a matter of camouflage; from above, its black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean, while from below, its white belly is hidden against the bright surface.
• Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins moult all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic moult.
• All but two species of penguins breed in large colonies of up to a thousand birds.
• The first published account of penguins comes from Antonio Pigafetta, who was aboard Ferdinand Magellan’s first circumnavigation of the globe in 1520. They spotted the animals near what was probably Punta Tombo in Argentina. (He called them “strange geese.”)
World Penguin Day takes place during the annual northern migration of Adelie Penguins, a species of penguin that is native to Antarctica. The Adelie Penguins migrate north to have better access to food during the winter months and then during the summer, return to the coastal beaches on Antarctica to build their nests. The holiday was created at McMurdo Station, an American research center on Ross Island in Antarctica. Researchers noticed that the Adelie Penguins began this migration specifically on this day, and they created this holiday as a way to pass the time and give social awareness to these fascinating creatures.
While this holiday takes place during this specific species’ migration, this holiday actually celebrates all the penguins in the world and raises awareness for their survival plight. Many of these penguins are sensitive to the effects of climate change, and as a result, many are having to migrate further to find their food, decreasing the population of these penguins as a result.
Out of the total 17 species that live in the world, 11 of them have been classified as endangered or vulnerable, according to the WWF. They spend most of their lives out at sea, so this holiday encourages people to work towards protecting the waters, as much of the time human activities such as pollution and the burning of fossil fuels directly impact their already fragile environment.
There are many things that you can do to lend a helping hand on World Penguin Day. Read up about the different species of penguins in the world and enrich your knowledge of them. Go crazy and dress in penguin colours!
Donate to a non-profit organization that you trust such as the WWF or the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. Share this holiday on your favourite social media websites using the hashtag #WorldPenguinDay and let everyone know what day it is today.
We here at the Nature Travel group fully support this initiative to highlight the plight of these cool birds.