April 25 is World Penguin Day. Each year, millions of penguins begin their annual migration north around the 25th of April. Although penguins are birds, they do not fly. In order to get to their new destination, these fascinating creatures must walk or waddle to their new home.
There are more than 15 species of penguins, with the Emperor penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri,being the largest. Spending most of their lives in water, these tuxedo-like birds do all their hunting in water and can swim up to 25 miles per hour.
Threats to Penguins
According to the IUCN Red List, some penguin species are considered vulnerable or endangered due to rapid population declines attributed to global warming and changes in sea temperature, over-fishing, natural and non-native predators, oil spills, habitat destruction and pollution. In some locations, populations have decreased by almost 80 percent.
Biologists are baffled by the recent discovery of balding or “naked penguins.” Scientists are trying to figure out why penguin chicks on both sides of the Atlantic are losing their feathers. Experts believe the uncommon feather-loss disorder may be caused by pollution, thyroid disorders or nutrient imbalances which can result in slower growth and death.
Watch Cookie the Ticklish Penguin
In honor of World Penguin Day, be sure to watch the hilarious video starring Cookie, the adorable penguin from the Cincinnati Zoo. Watch as her handlers tickle her funny bone! The video, which has gone viral, has taken the Internet by storm and can be seen on the left side of this article.
- March of the Penguins – This powerful and touching film follows penguins as they travel to their breeding ground in Antarctica. The fascinating documentary from 2005 is narrated by the talented Morgan Freeman.
- Happy Feet Movies – Can’t get enough of penguins? These two animated movies, devoted to Emperor penguins, are perfect for young and old alike.
Free Penguin Activities
- SeaWorld Penguin Poll – How much do you know about penguins?
- Free Penguin Itsy Bitsy Booklet – This tiny book from Kid Zone is geared towards the younger crowd. Simply print, cut along the dotted lines and fold into book form.
- Free Emperor Penguin Card – Send this free greeting from National Geographic.
- Penguin Coloring Page – National Geographic offers this free printable coloring page.
- The Penguin Project website is all about penguins. You can watch videos about penguins and even track them.
- Live Penguin Cam – Visit the live penguin cam at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- Adopt an African Penguin – Want to help? Why not adopt an African penguin from the Audubon Institute? Your $35 adoption fee helps feed and care for more than 15,000 creatures in the Audubon’s care.
Happy World Penguin Day!