January 20th is Penguin Awareness Day and it is time to get to know your penguins. There are 18 species of penguin that live primarily in the Southern Hemisphere. 72% of penguins species have a declining populations and 5 species are considered endangered. These species are facing extinction if improved protection and conservation measures are not implemented.
- The word Penguin may have come from the Welsh pen gwyn, meaning ‘white head’.
- The Galapagos penguin is the only species of that inhabits the equator and parts of northern hemisphere.
- Penguins lost the ability to fly millions of years ago.
- Powerful flippers and streamlined bodies make penguins very good swimmers.
- Penguins are the fastest swimming and deepest diving species of bird.
- Penguins can stay underwater up to 20 minutes at a time.
- The penguins light front and dark back coloration is called countershading and the provides camouflage from above and below
- Penguins colonies are called rookeries.
- Penguins spend up to 75 percent of their lives at sea
How can you help protect penguins?
- Being a responsible consumer and ensure the seafood you eat is caught or raised sustainably.
- Oil pollution is deadly to marine environments so check that your fuel and oil lines are in good condition and don’t dump old oil products into drains.
- Help reduce carbon emissions to slow climate change. Changes in ocean temperature disrupt food chains impacting on the diet of penguins
- Support conservation work to help protect penguins and conserve their habitats