Happy Penguin Awareness Day!

Written by on January 20, 2015 in Marine Life, Penguins
Adélie penguins.

Adélie penguins. Photo credit: NOAA.

Penguins are so wonderful that they get two holidays every year. Penguin Awareness Day (today) and World Penguin Day. World Penguin Day is held annually on April 25 because that’s when Adélie penguins begin their annual northward migration. Nobody seems to know when or why Penguin Awareness Day started, but that’s okay.

World Penguin Day is designed to celebrate penguins, draw attention to their current situation and to encourage everyone to protect them. So, that’s just what we’ll do on Penguin Awareness Day.

Why do penguins need our attention? Because “penguins are sentinels of ocean health, and changes to their populations can indicate trouble for other species that depend on a robust food web,” Andrea Kavanagh, director of Pew’s global penguin conservation and Southern Ocean work, explained in a news release.

Emperor penguin colony.

Emperor penguin colony. Photo credit: ianduffy via photopin cc.

There are 18 species of penguins, all of which are found in the Southern Hemisphere. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), most of these species are in decline. The factors for decline, however, vary based on location, contact with humans and predators, and dependence on sea ice.

According to Pew, climate change is the biggest threat, already affecting 11 of the 18 species. Overfishing and pollution come in second, affecting seven species. Check out this infographic to learn more about each species and the threats they face.

“Penguin protection is critical, not just for these iconic species, but for entire ocean ecosystems,” Kavanagh said.

To learn why we should protect penguins, check out some of these links:

Gentoo penguins. Photo credit: Lt. Elizabeth Crapo/NOAA.

Gentoo penguins. Photo credit: Lt. Elizabeth Crapo/NOAA.

Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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