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World Penguin Day

Today, the 25th of April is World Penguin Day!

World Penguin Day

Penguin in the snow

Jon, as a supporter of WWF, got an email from them giving him some news on their plans. Their aim is to protect colonies of Adélie penguins. They are the smallest penguin but also the most widespread species of penguin in the Antarctic.

Why is World Penguin Day important?

Penguins are among one of the animals most threatened by global warming. They need cold water to survive, and they feed on krill. The survival of krill is very important then but what do krill feed on? They eat algae that lie under the ice, on the surface of the water. Although, with more and more ice melting and warmer waters there is less algae. So, fewer krill and penguins are beginning to starve.  

The increase of temperature and water levels of the Antarctic Ocean is also due to a phenomenon called “El Nino”. It brings storms, floods and rainfall to the Pacific coast of the Americas. And, droughts to Southeast Asia and the western pacific region. El Nino used to happen every 3-7 years around Christmas time but now it seems to be happening more frequently.

World Penguin Day

Penguin chick

Also, with the melting of the ice and warmer temperatures, there is more water vapour in the air which helps generate more snow. During spring, when penguins lay their eggs the snow takes longer to melt. When it finally melts it can leave eggs in cold puddles and chicks not yet able to swim can even drown. The same thing can happen when the ice, now thinner and more brittle, breaks and the chicks may fall into the ocean without having the feathers to insulate them.

World Penguin Day

Photo by Janko Ferlic from Pexels

Some colonies try to adapt and move to more suitable areas but it is not easy for them. Some colonies of penguins have already disappeared and many others have reduced in numbers.

Children can of course help with this change and perhaps as a family you could adopt a penguin. This helps fund projects to monitor penguins and their movements and see how they are being affected by climate change.

Watch this bittersweet documentary and this animated movie

World Penguin Day

The movie: ‘March of the Penguins’, 2005

A bittersweet award-winning French documentary made in 2005, “La Marche de l’empereur”, was about the movement of penguins from the north of the Antarctic. This is where the ocean begins and there is usually more food to the south/centre where the land is more stable. 

Penguins and polar bears, a movie by WWF UK

WWF UK in collaboration with Templar Publishing tried to explain the connection between penguins, polar bears, climate change and human activity with an animation movie based on the book ‘How the Weather Works’ by Christiane Dorion.

As the award-winning author Christiane says: “While climate change requires major changes in the way we design and make all our stuff and produce energy, personal actions are a great place to start!”