World Penguin Day: How You Can Help Our Feathered Friends

April 25th is World Penguin Day! 🐧 A day dedicated to the celebration of all 17 different species of this flightless bird, from the tiny Little Blue Penguin to the Emperor Penguin.

Now some of you may know that penguins have been my favourite animal for over a decade, so I thought I’d take some time to celebrate these beautiful creatures here, on my blog.

If you’d like to get involved yourself use the hashtag #WorldPenguinDay on social media, where you’ll find hundreds of people, zoos, and wildlife centres sharing photos and stories of these wonderful birds.

King Penguins at Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, UK
Photo taken at Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, UK
Be sure to catch Spike the King Penguin and his friends being fed at Birdland, via Facebook live, this afternoon! If you missed it, the video will also be posted on Spike’s Facebook page later on.

Penguin Facts

So now you know the importance of World Penguin Day, I’d like to share a few penguin facts with you – most of these have been learned from the keepers at Birdland, or watching Sir David Attenborough‘s nature shows on BBC Earth.

Penguins are found in the Southern Hemisphere and come in all sizes. The smallest is the little penguin from Australia and New Zealand, while the largest (and probably most famous) is the emperor penguin of Antarctica. Which has been pictured in movies such as Happy Feet, and documentaries such as March of the Penguins.

While these birds cannot fly, they are very adept at using their wings to propel themselves through the water. They have very small, tightly packed feathers to help them keep insulated in cold and marine environments.

Photo taken at Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, UK

When people think about penguins, they typically think of cold countries, more than likely due to how they’re shown in film and TV. However penguins in fact occupy a host of habitats, from forests in New Zealand to the volcanic islands of the Galapagos, and the beaches of southern Africa.

Yet sadly several of these species are now severely threatened, so World Penguin Day also helps to raise awareness, and show how you can help with their survival.

5 Major Threats to Penguins – and what you can do to help

There is a lot to love about penguins; they’re cute and comical on land, remarkable swimmers, and capable of migrating thousands of kilometres each year. But, like many species, human appreciation isn’t enough to help these birds from slipping towards extinction.

Today I’m going to share five major issues being faced by penguin populations today, and what you can do to help.

Climate Change

One of the biggest threats to many animals lives is climate change, and this is also true for penguins. The largest of the penguins – the Emperor Penguin in Antarctica – is greatly affected by ice melting as a result of climate change.

The melting ice affects the penguins food source of fish, and krill, which breeds and feeds under the sea ice. Often the penguins will have to travel further out to find a sustainable food source for themselves and their chicks. Sadly many chicks die of starvation before their parents are able to come back with food.

How can you help?

There are so many things you can do at home to be more eco-friendly and help to reduce climate change. Even simple changes like turning off lights when not in use or when you leave the room, switching to LED light bulbs, or saying no to single-use plastic, all have a positive impact.

You can also support organisations like Oceanites or WWF who are continually working to raise awareness of climate change and safeguard marine wildlife.

Oil Spills

This form of pollution is lethal and devastating to many marine environments, including those of penguins. When the oil covers their bodies it affects their ability to float, so they do not venture into the water in search of food. Which results in starvation in many cases. The oil also inhibits the ability to control their body temperature.

The penguins will often try and clean the oil from their feathers and end up swallowing it, which can cause various stomach problems, such as ulcers.

How can you help?

Check fuel and oil lines on vehicles and homes for good condition, and do not dump old oil products into drains. Accidental spills of any pollutants remain in ecosystems and have been shown to accumulate in polar regions.

If an oil spill happens near you, get involved with the cleanup. Organisations such as the International Bird Rescue (USA) are dedicated to the rehabilitation of birds after oil spills.

Overfishing

Penguins feed almost exclusively on fish, and when their food source is already limited by climate change, overfishing exacerbates the problem. As I said earlier, many penguins will need to travel further in search of food for themselves and their families, and will often die of starvation.

How can you help?

The best way to fight overfishing is by not eating seafood; however, if you really love seafood and would miss having it, make sure to check the Seafood Watch Lists to ensure the seafood you eat is caught or raised sustainably.

Plastic Pollution

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the horrifying numbers of plastic waste being dumped in our oceans every year. Which fish and other marine life, such as penguins, often mistake for food.

The ingested plastic builds up in the penguin’s stomach over time, causing major health issues and prevents it from digesting real food. But this isn’t the only issue – penguins can also get stuck in our plastic packaging, causing injury or even suffocation.

How you can help?

Start by cutting back on how much single-use plastic you buy, or consider going entirely plastic-free. There are many plastic-free options available on the market right now, so it’s a lot easier to make the switch. But it’s an on-going journey; one that I’m still working on myself.

You should also make sure to recycle and dispose of your household waste properly.

Illegal egg harvesting

Although it has been made illegal to harvest or eat penguin eggs. It still happens, as penguin eggs are considered a delicacy by some cultures, and uncontrolled harvesting can be devastating yo their population.

How can you help?

This one’s pretty straightforward… Don’t eat illegally obtained penguin eggs or support those that sell them.

Have you heard of World Penguin Day? If so, how will you be celebrating today? Let me know in the comments. 🐧

25 Comments

  1. How You Can Protect Our World's Oceans | World Oceans Day 2020 - Chimmyville

    June 8, 2020 at 08:30

    […] fish and other marine life. They can mistake the plastic for food – which as I explained on World Penguin Day – can kill them, or get caught up or tangled in it. But it’s not simply plastic […]

  2. Adam

    June 6, 2020 at 17:38

    How did I not know about World Penguin Day?! I need to remember this for next year.

    1. Kim

      June 7, 2020 at 00:52

      Definitely one to add to your calendar. 😉 Thanks for your comment.

  3. 6 Blogs To Read This June: Meet My Advertisers · Jenny in Neverland

    June 4, 2020 at 08:31

    […] World Penguin Day: How We Can Help Our Feathered Friends […]

  4. Karalee Shotola

    May 20, 2020 at 19:29

    Today my daughter told me her favorite animal is the penguin & now she’s sleeping with a penguin her grandma bought her when she was a baby & we went to see the penguins at the aquarium haha.
    It’s great that there’s a world penguin day & there’s a lot that we can do to help them!

  5. Holly

    May 20, 2020 at 13:31

    Awww I had no idea about World Penguin Day!! I also didn’t know there were 17 species and that some of them could be found in NZ and Africa!! xx

  6. Ashley

    May 19, 2020 at 17:39

    I had no idea such a thing existed! I’m so sorry I missed World Penguin Day! I’ll pop it in my diary for next year! xxx

  7. bournemouthgirl

    May 11, 2020 at 13:42

    I didn’t know there was a penguin day! How awesome! They are so cute!

  8. Britt K

    May 9, 2020 at 18:13

    I had no idea that there was a World Penguin Day, but I love it! I think they are such an incredible species and we owe it to them to make an effort to protect them from problems that we largely created… After all, they wouldn’t have issues with oil spills, over-fishing, etc. if we weren’t around!

  9. Ghulam Mohyudin

    May 7, 2020 at 16:40

    It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

  10. Amy

    May 7, 2020 at 13:51

    Not going to lie, I’m genuinely a bit gutted I missed world penguin day! They’re one of my favourite animals so this was really informative on how more can be done to help them. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Sophie Wentworth

    May 3, 2020 at 19:55

    Penguins are great but I had no idea there was such a thing as World Penguin Day, that’s cute! I watched a documentary about the impact climate change is having on penguins recently and it was heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing the tips on the little things we can do to help them out x

    Sophie

  12. Lisa

    May 3, 2020 at 17:26

    I hadn’t heard about Penguin Day but they are fascinating birds. I always remember that episode where David Attenborough (who else) was narrating about life in the freezer and how those penguins took turns going on the outside of the group so everyone had a chance to thaw out and warm up. Thank you for the tips on what we can all do to help protect these amazing birds! Lisa x

  13. Anha

    May 3, 2020 at 13:11

    Love penguins ! Thanks to sharing !

    xoxo

    Anha
    https://www.eikomania.com

  14. Bexa

    May 3, 2020 at 12:47

    I love penguins! They are always so fascinating to watch and interesting to learn about too. It’s sad to read that there is so much threatening these amazing birds but good to know there are many ways in which was can do our bit to protect them. Thank you for sharing your knowledge Kim, really insightful post and always good to learn something new! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  15. Pauline Cornell

    April 28, 2020 at 19:35

    I watched spike and the other at birdland. Thank you for sharing

    1. Kim

      April 29, 2020 at 12:07

      Glad to hear it! 😊 They’ll be doing another live feed on the 5th May. 🐧

  16. Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

    April 28, 2020 at 11:22

    Thanks for sharing, I not heard of World Penguin Day, it sounds like a good fundraising cause to highlight the need of the world’s penguins 🙂

    Nic | Nic’s Adventures & Bakes

  17. Marie-Celine

    April 27, 2020 at 22:24

    The artist John Ruskin apparently said “one cannot be angry when one looks at a penguin”

    They are lovely and they do make you smile.

    Marie Xx

    1. Kim

      April 28, 2020 at 12:01

      That’s such a lovely quote! Thank you for sharing. 😊💗

  18. Janet Bargmann

    April 27, 2020 at 14:51

    Wow this was such a fascinating post to read! I think we all have a duty to look after the amazing wildlife our planet has to offer, so reading this is a small way of doing that! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  19. Catherine Green

    April 27, 2020 at 14:45

    I had not heard of World Penguin Day! My daughter’s best friend loves penguins and she recently adopted one for her 9th birthday. I’m sure she celebrated the day 🙂

  20. Jenny in Neverland

    April 27, 2020 at 14:25

    I have not heard of World Penguin Day BUT we seem to have a day for absolutely everything so I’m not surprised that there’s a day dedicated to Penguins! I love Penguins, they’re such funny animals! I recently saw loads at the zoo and could have spent ages watching them! xxx

  21. Charles

    April 26, 2020 at 10:40

    My partner and I celebrated the happy day by watching the Penguin documentary film on Disney+. I love my American roots but certainly had a different feel from the BBC and Attenborough films. Still fun though, quite a few ‘Go Steve!’s shouted from us.

    1. Fy

      April 27, 2020 at 18:41

      I’ve never heard of world penguin day! We should try to do what we can yo protect the world and wildlife xx

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