Happy world penguin day! It’s awesome that the whole world is celebrating our feathery, flightless, fluffy friends. (Say that three times fast!)
The reason World Penguin Day is celebrated today is because the annual northward migration of penguins happens each year on or around April 25th.
There are so many cool things about penguins! Here’s a short list of fun facts:
- Penguins can find a family member in a crowd of 80,000 other penguins, since each one has a distinct call.
- The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.
- Penguins’ coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, their black backs blend into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, their white bellies are hidden against the bright light.
- Penguins live exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.
- A large penguin can collect up to 30 fish in one dive.
- Penguins spend 75% of their lives at sea.
But penguins do far more than provide our amusement. They play important roles in the ecosystems, on the ocean and on land. First of all, they provide food for leopard seals, seabirds, and other natural predators. Second of all, they help control growing numbers of what they eat: fish, squid, and krill. They also carry nutrients and enrich the earth.
Unfortunately, penguins are declining in drastic numbers, especially because they experience threats in the ocean and on land. In fact, 11 of the 18 species are endangered! Some are even on the brink of extinction. For example: There is a 30% chance that the Galapagos penguin will be extinct by the end of this century!
There are 6 main reasons mother nature’s tuxedo-wearing birds are disappearing:
- Climate change
- Habitat degradation
- Introduced predators
- and, Human disturbance
….Along with many other threats to penguins.
Today, I am asking myself, ‘What can I do for the penguins?’ Here are ways that we can help our cute and cuddly creatures keep on going:
- Don’t litter. This means always putting the trash in the trash, so that penguins don’t suffer the consequences of pollution.
- Reduce your consumption of seafood, such as fish. Plenty of food is vital to the survival of penguins, but thanks to over-fishing, the food chain is out of balance. You don’t have to become vegan, but you can take baby steps.
- Be creative on how to use less energy. You can use less energy by sharing rides with other people, or riding on your bike. Using less energy causes less global warming.
It is important that we all take action now to prevent penguins from becoming a part of the distant past. We have a stewardship of the earth and its animals, so it’s up to us to protect them.
What will you do to help our penguin friends?