April 25 is World Penguin Day. Each year, millions of penguins begin their annual migration north around the 25th of April. Although penguins are birds, they do not fly. In order to get to their new destination, these fascinating creatures must walk or waddle to their new home.
Did you know there are more than 15 species of penguins, with the Emperor penguin being the largest? Spending most of their lives in water, these tuxedo-like birds do all their hunting in water and can swim up to 25 miles per hour.
According to the IUCN Red List, some penguin species are considered vulnerable or endangered due to rapid population declines attributed to global warming and changes in sea temperature, over-fishing, natural and non-native predators, oil spills, habitat destruction and pollution. In some locations, populations have decreased by almost 80 percent.
Biologists are baffled by the recent discovery of balding or "naked penguins.” Scientists are trying to figure out why penguin chicks on both sides of the Atlantic are losing their feathers. Experts believe the uncommon feather-loss disorder may be caused by pollution, thyroid disorders or nutrient imbalances which can result in slower growth and death.