Every winter, emperor penguins face daunting obstacles on their annual journey. They abandon the safety of the big blue ocean and emerge onto the harsh ice deserts of Antarctic. They march, single-file, for some twenty days in rough blizzards and cruel terrain, almost instinctively to reach their breeding ground.
There, they perform intricate dances and sing impressive songs to attract their mate and then procreate. After the mother penguins hatch just one egg, they take off and begin their long-term hunting trip. The father penguins are left to protect their unhatched egg, by balancing them upon their feet.
For about two months, the father penguins endure the rigorous snow and chilling winds of the Earth’s southernmost continent until the mothers arrive from sea, with fish-filled bellies to regurgitate it to their now hatched young. By summer, the ice around the breeding ground begins to melt and, this is when the baby penguins learn to swim and give fishing a go.
Emperor penguins endure this arduous journey every year and return to the same breeding ground where they were born to create life once again.
However, emperor penguins now face another daunting obstacle. Their home is melting away and their breeding grounds are disappearing because of Climate change. The penguin colony featured in the film March of the Penguins has declined by more than half! And if no action is taken soon, scientists predict half of the world’s emperor penguins to disappear by 2050!
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently deciding if emperor penguins should be listed on the Endangered Species Act. If they become listed, the Act will help them in more ways than one. It could be the difference of life or death. Please sign the petition below urging the FWS to consider adding emperor penguins to the Endangered Species list:
Image Source: Anne Frohlich/Flickr