Some of the most popular birds on the planet are penguins!
Living on the icy coasts and islands of the Antarctic region, we often just see these extraordinary seabirds in books and movies. Yes, a few of their species dwell on islands with a warmer climate, but watching them alive and diving into the ocean to catch dinner remains an elusive dream for many of us.
But how we love these seabirds, with their unique charms and personalities! If you have watched Penguin Town on Netflix, you’ll fall even more in love with these black-and-white creatures. Indeed, white bellies and black bodies are what all of their 18 species have in common — part of their defense mechanism against predators like leopard seals and killer whales. But they do vary when it comes to size, weight, and other lovely attributes.
Alas, only five of the 18 species of penguins are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The majority of these seabird species are already classified as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, and Endangered. The decline in their populations is caused by habitat loss, natural illness, infectious diseases from tourists, and shrinking food supply due to commercial fishing in the Southern Ocean.
However, climate change has now become the most dangerous threat to penguin populations as warming temperatures melt sea ice, which is vital for their nest-building and food sourcing. Knowing how vulnerable they are to the changing conditions of our planet makes our hearts yearn more for the miraculous survival of these adorable and amazing seabirds.
It’s a wonderful thing that the Kansas City Zoo is a loving home for several penguin species, where they can be seen strolling and swimming in their respective habitats. King penguins, macaroni penguins, gentoo penguins, and chinstrap penguins enjoy their cold-weather haven while the zoo’s Humboldt penguins who originated in South America live in a warm-weather habitat.
Every penguin at this zoo has a name, and zoo staff can distinguish them by the bands on their wings or flippers. True, the wings of these flightless birds function more as flippers that help them in navigating the ocean, along with their tail that acts as a rudder. They swim at about 15 miles per hour, and when they want to speed up, they do the “porpoise” or leap out of the water just like the flying fish!
Want to see a penguin parade? Here’s a video shared by casscregg on Tiktok, now with 3.7 million views! Their waddling and running look so cute! And even the “slowpoke” among them will make you smile!
I give penguin parades a 10 out of 10 🐧🖤🤍