Penguin Awareness Day 2019

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The planet is getting hotter, we have all experienced this ourselves in the last couple of months with the continual heatwaves. As this is being written, it is currently 34°C in Revesby, 37°C in Hinchinbrook, and 43°C in Wagga Wagga, that’s definitely HOT and there doesn’t seem to be much of any kind of relief on the way at the moment. It makes you think, doesn’t it… about the animals living in places like Antartica, for example? Those little flightless birds who bring us just joy just by watching them. They’re so popular that they’ve spawned numerous movies about their little fictional adventures over the years. 

Penguins are aquatic birds native to the Southern Hemisphere. There’s around 20 known species of penguins in the world and eight of those species are found in the Antarctic. The largest penguins are the “emperor penguins”, and the smallest known penguin species are the “little penguins” are found in the coastal areas of Australia and New Zealand. Their black and white coats are thought to help camouflage them against predators, and their wings are used to swim rather than fly. The Gentoo penguin is the fastest of all penguins and can swim up to an incredible 35kmh! 

From the WWF Website: 

The Adélie and emperor penguins both nest on the Antarctic continent, making them unique and at the same time placing them at the mercy of climate change. Warming along the West Antarctic Peninsula has already meant a loss in sea ice and, subsequently, a loss in Adélie penguin numbers in that area. We believe we may lose a third of the population in the next 40 years due to the impacts of climate change on their habitat and their food supply unless action to mitigate these threats is taken.

The famous emperor penguin is also at risk from rising temperatures; colonies across Antarctica are shrinking as temperatures are rising. One colony in the northernmost part of Antarctica has disappeared along with the fast ice where they made their home. We fear that if major changes to sea ice continue, it will lead to a continent-wide decline and regional near extinction of emperor penguins by the end of this century.

Penguin Awareness Day is a call for Hope. Across the world, on the 20th January we take time to acknowledge and celebrate our little flightless birds. You might be wondering what you can do to mark this occasion. Well, for example, you can a zoological establishment, or aquatic centre and help your children learn more about the animals, or even just watch them play. IF you find it’s too darn hot to leave the house, put on a movie or documentary at home, and let them take in the beauty of nature from the comfort of your own home. Your children are the future of our continued existence and if we can get them to take a greater interest in the natural world, there is a greater chance that they will feel compelled to fix it and help to save endangered populations of our wild fauna.