The April 25 is celebrated in many countries as World Penguin Day. After all, those wearing tails have a lot to offer the bird world. Why the penguins (lat. Spheniscidae ) deserve such a global day of honor is highlighted in this article in the calendar of curious holidays from around the world . So what is this animal action day about?
Who started World Penguin Day?
In contrast to many other articles from the animal holidays calendar , the origins and backgrounds of World Penguin Day seem to be relatively poorly documented. For many animal rights activists and environmental activists, however, this is not an obstacle. Although it is not officially known since when the World Penguin Day has been celebrated, numerous environmental and animal welfare groups, zoos and aquariums around the world have been using the 25th anniversary for several years April to draw attention to the endangerment of the penguins by the disappearance or the threat to their natural habitat (see also the other articles from the calendar of the environmental action day e).
Attentive readers of the curious holidays will of course immediately point out that there was already a penguin holiday in January. Quite right, on January 20 the US celebrates the so-called Penguin Awareness Day as the national day of honor for the penguins.
Why does World Penguin Day fall on April 25th?
While the concrete origins of World Penguin Day unfortunately seem to be in the dark, the birds celebrated today at least provide the reason for the choice of the date. And it’s really strange. Because on April 25th the annual migration of penguins to the north begins.
In detail: The scientists at the McMurdo Station on Antarctica, built in 1955, have observed over the years that every year on April 25, the animals of an Adelie penguin colony collectively returned to the same place on land after months at sea.
If this was initially thought to be a rather coincidental phenomenon, observation over a longer period of time showed that this is the natural migration pattern of birds. Thus, the scientists at McMurdo Station were able to predict the arrival of the animals precisely by looking at the calendar and from then on declared this arrival an unofficial holiday at the station at the South Pole.
In this respect there is no direct substantive reference here to also committed today World Malaria (Engl. World Malaria Day), the US Day of the phone (English. National Telephone Day), the Arbor Day in Germany , the day of DNA (English. DNA Day) or the American Zucchini Bread Day (National Zucchini Bread Day). At least I couldn’t find out anything about it in the course of research.
The penguins are cute, at least if they don’t come from the Google Zoo and you make your living with SEO. Note on our own behalf: Dear search engine, both January 20th and April 25th would have been perfect dates for an iteration of the Penguin update. 😉 But only as a side note. What is today’s World Penguin Day about?
Penguin knowledge: a few facts and figures about the Spheniscidae
From the point of view of biologists, the penguins belong to a group of flightless seabirds that are native to the southern hemisphere of the earth. During evolution, their wings have assumed the function of fins, so although they are fast and agile swimmers, but can not fly (see examples in addition also the US Day of the bird (Engl. National Bird Day) on January 5) .
Among the currently known or living penguins, a total of 17 species are divided into six genera, with the emperor penguin ( lat.Aptenodytes forsteri ) being 1.20 meters tall and weighing up to 40 kilograms, the largest and the little penguins ( lat.Eudyptula minor) ) embody the smallest penguin species at 30 centimeters and around 1.5 kilograms. The birds, which are adapted to life in the sea and the cold zones of the earth, occupy a certain special position insofar as they form the only family within the zoological order Sphenisciformes .
Because of this uniqueness, one can currently only assume that their phylogenetic relatives probably belong to the groups of grebes (Latin: Podicipediformes ). Tubular noses (Latin Procellariiformes ), rudder pods (Latin Pelecaniformes ) and loons (Latin Gaviiformes ) belong.
How the penguin got its name
The name penguin is etymologically derived in German from the English penguin , which probably refers to the Welsh term pen gwyn (German white head). The careful observer will now point out that penguins do not have white heads after all.
But here, too, a brief look back at the conceptual historical history helps, because the English word penguin was originally used for the giant aalk (lat Pinguinus impennis ) that is native to the northern Atlantic, but is now extinct. Similar to our penguins today, the wings of this flightless animal had transformed into fins in the course of evolution and because of this – exclusively external – similarity, British sailors called it a penguin.
At this point, of course, many thanks to my parents who made their penguin photos from various trips available to me for this post. In this sense: Have a great World Penguin Day to all of you.