Myriad Methods Exist for Protecting our Tuxedo-Clad Friends

Posted on November 23, 2011 by


Conservation of wildlife is a topic frequently visited in today’s world, but certain species of animals are continually passed over, even as the numbers of the endangered and threatened continue to climb. Penguins, some of the most easily recognizable birds in the world, seem to fit perfectly into this category because of the lack of attention they receive compared to other animals. Their place in the food chain, for example, contributes exponentially to the need for conservation efforts to protect these majestic creatures.

Of the eighteen species of penguins found around the world, thirteen are on the endangered or threatened list.  According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, only five types of penguins are considered of little concern with regards to climate changes, pollution, and other hazards in their environments.

To take a stand against these growing statistics, zoos in the area are providing various methods of supporting penguins against further harm. The Lehigh Valley Zoo has a program called “Adopt an Animal,” by which supporters can pay an annual $50 fee to sponsor a penguin at the zoo, which helps to defer some of the maintenance costs caused by the animals. The zoo also runs a “Pennies for Penguins” program that gets children involved in supporting the African Penguins as well as a “Penguin Pathway” program in which zoo supporters can donate $100 to personalize a brick for the pathway.

The Philadelphia Zoo runs an “Adopt an Animal” program in which people can choose to donate various levels of monetary support to receive special penguin-related gifts and even personal meet-and-greets with the adopted animal and its keeper.

The World Wildlife Fund also offers adoptions of Emperor penguins and Emperor penguin chicks. The organization claims that all donations made to the fund will be used in general support of WWF’s efforts, and 83 cents of each dollar donated will go toward conservation.

“Birds in general are very important to the food chain,” Fleetwood High School biology teacher Karen Favata said.  “Without a conservation of lower level animals like penguins, there could be a significant drop in the food chain.”

Favata also encourages students to watch the movie March of the Penguins to become more familiar with how these birds live and function on a daily basis.

If conservation programs are not implemented and funding does not increase, the African, Erect-Crested, Galapagos, Northern Rockhopper, and Yellow-Eyed Penguins will soon be in a critical state and may even become extinct in the near future.

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