Stretching over miles and miles over the southern hemisphere, lies the vastly huge continent of Antarctica. Popular as the ice desert, the continent is the driest, coldest and windiest of all which makes it virtually an inhabitable place. Yet, there are a surprising number of people who made it their homeland. If there is one set of life that is utterly comfortable with the teeth clattering weather are the penguins. Walking head high with a relatively big body, these aquatic and flightless birds are usually one of the most adorable creatures on earth.
Forming part of the fascinating wildlife of the Antarctic, the penguins are divided into eight species, the majority of them being migratory ones.
The Emperor Penguin is the biggest of all species. The male and female ones do not much differ much from each other. They both have the head and dorsal side of black, a white belly, pale yellow breasts and bright yellow ear patches. They are architectured in such a way that their bodies can adapt to the varying dry and cold temperatures. This explains their comfort with the extreme cold conditions both above and under water. Their meal mostly consists of fish, squid, and krill. Being the only specie of penguins who breeds during the Antarctic winter and being social animals, penguins migrate during different times of the year to breeding colonies where they are joined by an even greater number of individuals.
These cute looking animals have predators too. Many penguins end up being the next dinner of a gluttonous leopard seal, orcas, a southern giant petrel or a south polar skua. It is almost disheartening to know that these penguins can live up to a maximum of twenty years. Their lifespan can be shortened by global warming. Wordless creatures are nowadays bearing the consequences of the actions of us human beings. Among the many animals that inhabit the continent, penguins generally share a very friendly relationship with human beings and do not consider them as their next seasoned dish.
Excerpts from a traveler’s diary
Being a travel enthusiast, I have visited many places and I had had the privilege of discovering many unseen facets of life and society. While setting on this journey, I had made myself a mental note to see the most adorable creatures on the planet; the penguins. I find them funny little creatures trotting around everywhere. Despite their heavy weight, they can carry themselves everywhere and are proven to be efficient swimmer with amazing dives and many famous Michael Phelps’s moves. In my opinion these are the cutest flightless birds that one could find.
However, I could not allow myself to travel to the great Antarctic continent just to see penguins. That’s a little bit insane and I couldn’t have bore the extremely freezing weather conditions. Instead, I focused on seeing them in a zoo in a country with a humanely adaptable temperature: The SeaWorld San Diego Zoo in San Francisco.
With the fiery bright sun warming us all above my head, I book my ticket for to meet the love of my life. That particular section of the zoo is transfigured so as to make it look like a replica of the natural habitat of the penguins. The chilly atmosphere somewhat drowns the warmth of the weather and invites visitors to admire the beautiful representation of nature; penguins.
The icy flooring and snowy background and the pool make us feel like this is the Antarctic. While some of the penguins are marching here and there just trying to shed off the extra calories which do get burnt by just walking and swimming, the others play in the water with their fellow mates and offsprings. The baby penguins are just a delight to watch. They make this trickling noise while playing that generates loads of awes from the spectators. The majority of them are emperor penguins shipped from the Antarctic. Their preservation and breeding have been remarkable. The penguins have been known to adapt to this new habitat with very few unsuccessful cases.
I had the honor of participating in the step to step guide into looking after a baby penguin. This actually is an amazing experience. Caring for such an animal is undoubtedly a rare opportunity and offers a whole new level of happiness. These animals are being influenced by the harmful effects of global warming and this is so an issue of concern. We cannot keep migrating penguins out of Antarctica just because glaciers are melting. That place is their natural habitat and it is our duty to save their place. So as responsible human beings, we should pitch in and start the good work. That would be the ultimate gift for them; their perfect shelter.
You don’t need to spend extravagant money to see penguins. You could just visit a zoo. It is more welcoming and affordable and is considered as a lesser threat to the animals. And after you are done visiting the cute birds from the cold Antartica, it’s time to book a flight to warmer shores of the Indian Ocean! Holidays in Mauritius is a wonderful idea especially with its exclusive villas.