World Penguin Day is observed annually on April 25 recognizing the aquatic birds. In the world, there are 17 species of penguins with Southern hemisphere as their natural habitat. April 25 was chosen as World Penguin Day as it marks the date when Adelie penguins begin their migration northward toward Antartica.
Adelie penguins which are native to Antarctica migrate north for better access to food during winter and return during summer to build their nests. World Penguin Day aims at raising awareness about these endangered creatures which have been affected by climate change.
The World Wide Sund has classified 11 out of 17 species of penguins as endangered or vulnerable. .
According to the State of Antarctic Penguins Report 2017, there is estimated to be 12 million penguins. While most penguins are mostly found in Antarctica, they are also found in Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands, South America, and South Africa. It is unfortunate that these birds are kept in captivity in countries across the world.
Penguins on an average have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Penguins spend most of their lives by the sea with their wings which has evolved into flippers. These birds are excellent swimmers and can get up to about 22 mph. Though they cannot fly, they can waddle walking upright and in snow conditions, they can slide on their bellies. Their distinctive black and white belly helps to camouflage them in water during its search of food.
The day also highlights how the issue about their loss of habitat and how important they are to the ecosystem. Talking about which, the Polar Program Manager for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Rob
Downie, had said that climate change threatens penguins and that there is an urgent need to tackle climate change by honoring the Paris climate agreement. He had also said that penguins have perfectly adapted to survive the harshest environment in the world.
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