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National Penguin Awareness Day (January 20)

Check out the weird holiday National Penguin Awareness Day on January 20. Learn the history of penguins and get ideas on how to celebrate.

One weird holiday on January 20 is National Penguin Awareness Day. Check out the other weird January holidays!

History of National Penguin Awareness Day

Penguins are aquatic birds that are native to the southern hemisphere – contrary to popular belief, they do not originate in Canada, Alaska, or the North Pole. Instead, penguins are found naturally in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos Islands.

There are 18-20 known species of penguins. The largest is the Emperor Penguin, and the smallest is the Little Penguin (which is found in Australia and New Zealand). Penguins are believed to have been around for over 65 million years.

Many penguin colonies have been lost to climate change, hunting, and other reasons, which is the reason for this weird holiday. Scientists estimated in a study in 2018 that around 2/3 of the Emperor penguin colonies will vanish by the year 2100.

Penguins are part of the bird family, even though they can’t fly. They use their wings as flippers to help them move quickly underwater, and they are very talented at swimming and diving.

Penguins are picky eaters. They consume mainly krill and fish, and they create “penguin highways” through the ice to make it easier for them to collect food. They need to consume a very specific diet in order to keep their feathers and eggshells healthy.

In 1772, the first person to “discover” Emperor penguins is Johann Reinhold Forster, who spotted them during the voyage of James Cook. It wasn’t until 1911, however, that Robert F. Scott led two expeditions that discovered and investigated the first breeding colony of Emperor penguins.

In 2018, more than one million Adelie penguins were found living on the Danger Islands, which are remote islands off the coast of Antarctica.

This weird holiday about penguins gained popularity in 2010, when scientists began to motivate the public in penguin preservation and convservation. In 2017, Polito Lab released a video explaining what they do to study the lives of penguins in Antartica.

Shortly after, the LSU College of the Coast and Environment began releasing short clips of penguins on Facebook, which also teach people important facts about penguins. Here is one about Penguin Awareness:

Some charities, like the Global Penguin Society, focus solely on protecting a penguin’s natural habitat. They will allow you to “adopt a penguin” for a small amount of money every month. Local zoos also do much to help preserve penguins whose homes have been destoryed.

Ideas for National Penguin Awareness Day

Other than watching Happy Feet or the documentary March of the Penguins, here are some ways you can celebrate this weird holiday.

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