Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Wonderful Note on the Magellanic Penguins' Plight

Prayers for penguins

February 16, 10:54 PM
by Torie Cooper, Phoenix Spiritual Examiner

Today's article may be a tad long but don't wimp out on me. I'd like you to read it. The results of several research projects concerning many of the world's penguin species have recently been released. The latest research coming from a wonderful biologist named Dee Boersma who studies Magellanic penguins (see Discovery Channel link on the right side of this web page). Magellanic penguins make their homes along the coast of Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands in South America. These handsome black and white creatures are rather shy (much like George Clooney) and are interesting in that they prefer to nest in burrows if possible; otherwise they nest directly on the ground.

Dee Boersma has spent a large part of her life studying these fascinating birds but sadly her work highlights a struggling penguin population due in large part to climate change.

Magellanic penguins love to hunt squid and small fish such as anchovies. They're definitely getting their daily dose of fish oil! Unfortunately, environmental changes are causing the anchovies and squid to move further north. If the penguins want to eat they must move north also. This is easier said than done. Dee discovered these birds are swimming 37 miles further to find food for their chicks. Hungry chicks are waiting up to 2 weeks to be fed. Sadly, some chicks grow weak and pass away.

Many of us know the major contributing factors of climate change. But what I'd like to point out is not the sensitivity of these penguins but their great fortitude and perseverance under challenging conditions.

These penguins are not feeling sorry for themselves. They are not giving up. They are mustering all the strength of their tiny flippers and swimming 37 miles further. No complaints. They do what they need to do. They're not waiting to see whether or not we humans will help them. They don't have time for that.

Maybe Magellanic penguins will make it. Maybe they won't. But my goodness, what inspiring and awesome animals they are! If any of us need role-models or heroes look no further than these magnificent, 8 lb, black and white birds. God bless them.

Peace to all

Special thanks to all biologists working hard on behalf of the world's penguins

Story and pic courtesy of the Phoenix Spiritual Examiner @

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