Every penguin is cute and cuddly – except maybe for the DC villain. Penguins have been an icon of monogamy: Despite not being 100% monogamous as a species, they tend to be loyal to their chosen partners.
Let’s get to know these flightless but fun birds!
All about penguins
We’ve put together a list of interesting facts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a 2014 article by Alina Bradford for Live Science, and a 2012 piece by Dave Armstrong for Earth Times. How many of these are you already familiar with?
1.Out of the 18 penguin species listed in the IUCN, five are endangered, another five are vulnerable, and three are near threatened.
2. Only the Emperor and King penguin lay a single egg. All other penguin species lay two eggs.
3. A penguin’s shape makes them aerodynamic. It is the perfect shape for gliding through the water as they swim.
4. Aptly so, the Snares Penguins live on the Snares Islands.
5. Another species that perfectly matches their name is the Galapagos Penguin, endemic to the Galapagos archipelago.
6. The Chinstrap penguin has a stripe of black that runs from one side of its head to the other, making it look like they’re wearing a chinstrap, as suggested by their name.
7. The Royal penguins and King penguins were exploited in the 19th century for penguin oil. Thankfully, after 109 years of exploitation, petroleum oil became more popular, giving these penguins the chance they needed to recover.
8. The Yellow-Eyed penguin’s voice is slightly more musical compared to other penguins.
9. Rockhoppers do not glide on their bellies like other penguins. Instead, they hop from rock to rock to move across the land quickly.
10. Penguins don’t always live in cold climate. Some, like the Galapagos penguins, live in tropical waters.
11. The Little penguin is also called the Blue penguin or Fairy penguin, and is the smallest penguin species.
You and penguins against the world
According to a 2019 article by Kristine Liao for Audobon, the organization’s research focuses on the impact of climate change, not just on penguins, but also on other bird species.
Lead scientist Stephanie Jenouvrier said people didn’t really understand the impact of temperature numbers and how dramatic they could be. Sea ice, which is greatly impacted by climate change, is essential not only to Emperor penguins but also to other species relying heavily on it for breeding and shelter.
Happy feet is still playing
Do you remember watching a movie about a tap-dancing penguin who saved his colony? In the movie Happy Feet, an entire population of Emperor penguins was on the brink of death because they couldn’t catch any fish. In the sequel, we saw how humans were the ones polluting the oceans and ultimately contributing to the deaths and misery of these animals.
Penguins are a resilient bunch. Even though the pace of climate change has been devastatingly fast, it’s a relief that none are critically endangered yet. Just like in the movies, they are fighting desperately to live, and humans are duty-bound to help them.
Unnatural state of affiairs
The introduction of new animals to a penguin’s habitat has contributed to the decline of the penguin population, according to IUCN and the Smithsonian Institute’s Ocean website.
Humans are infamously known for introducing species that feed on local animals and disturb the natural balance of predators and preys in the area. Unfortunately, this is also why the existence of some penguin species is threatened.
Seafood hurts penguins
Anchovies and sardines are often part of a human’s diet, but these are also the main diet of a majority of penguins. When humans consume seafood, they are potentially robbing penguins of a diet that helps them thrive.
Overfishing has also become a trend, with many fisheries collapsing, even with legal and standardized fishing methods. Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institute has been documenting illegal fishing and how it has impacted penguin populations.
One particular threat to penguins is the demand for omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. The oil usually comes from krill, a type of fish consumed by penguins, seals and whales. Luckily, humans can derive their essential fatty acids from sources other than fish: chia seeds, brussel sprouts, walnuts, and seaweed.
You might want to read:
– A group of penguins go on a field trip to the museum, and they adore paintings
– Photographer captures two penguins enjoying the Melbourne skyline
– Penguins caught repeatedly sneaking into sushi truck