Gold Leaf NZ proudly partners with Global Penguin Society
PenguinKind book is avilable for purchase here
Penguins are marvellous and mysterious animals. They represent the magnificence of wildlife, and at the same time its fragility. They are loyal, brave and driven. Their main goals are to survive and breed their chicks successfully, against enormous odds. Some species swim hundreds, even thousands of kilometres during their foraging and migrations. For instance, the Magellanic penguin swims twelve times around the Planet during their 30 year lifespan. Emperor penguins manage incubate their eggs during the Antarctic winter in temperatures of -40C and winds up to 150 km/hour.
Penguins are hardy and tough, but today, they are in trouble. Thirty years ago, only 15% of the species were listed as threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Today, 55% of the 18 species of penguins living on our Planet are listed in that category. Penguins are in trouble because of their extreme sensitivity to alterations in habitat. Climate change affects them, as does marine pollution and mismanagement of fisheries. On land, penguins are increasingly threatened by human disturbance and the introduction of unfamiliar predators.
Penguins’ natural features like being flightless birds and single or double brooders, makes them especially vulnerable to the significant environmental threats facing our oceans and coasts. For example, when penguins gather together as a colony for several months each year, they are more exposed to risks like oil spills and unpredictable marine food sources that could potentially wipe out vast numbers of one species at one moment in time.
Humans have a natural and emotional connection with penguins. Perhaps because penguins walk upright, their waddle is adorable, or they look so well dressed. Or perhaps we identify with their devotion to partners and offspring which involves looking after the family, providing for chicks, and commuting to find food. What most humans don’t realise is that penguins are more than one of the most loved wildlife species on Earth. They are one of the leading indicators of what's happening to the health of our oceans and our Planet.
Humans play a critical role in helping penguins, independently of where we live. The Planet is connected in many ways, mainly through the air and oceans. Whatever each citizen of this Planet does to improve the quality of the environment, no matter how small, ultimately connects back to benefiting the penguins. Educating ourselves in solutions to minimise our impact on the Planet is fundamental. We must make sure that everything we consume as food, clothes, and resources come from sustainable sources. In this way, the Planet can recover if we give it a chance. We hope that this book can inspire major changes in our behaviour and attitude by considering the plight of the penguins.
Dr Pablo Garcia Borboroglu
President & Founder, Global Penguin Society