Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thursday Birdblogging

This penguin was photographed recently in Chile, the Patagonian region, by
Gromit on his family's great trip there. This lovely bird, like all penguins, is a protected species.

Penguins are superbly adapted to an aquatic life. Their vestigial wings have become flippers, useless for flight in the air. In the water, however, penguins are astonishingly agile. Within the smooth plumage a layer of air is preserved, ensuring buoyancy. The air layer also helps insulate the birds in cold waters. On land, penguins use their tails and wings to maintain balance for their upright stance.

All penguins are countershaded for camouflage – that is, they have a white underside and a dark (mostly black) upperside. A predator looking up from below (such as an orca or a leopard seal) has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective water surface. The dark plumage on their backs camouflages them from above.

Legal protection for penguins

1 . Currently all 17 species of penguins are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting. At least three species are considered at risk (del Hoyo, et al., 1992). For current status of all penguin species, see Appendix.

2. The Antarctic Treaty was signed by 12 nations in 1959 and reauthorized in 1991 to protect Antarctica and preserve its living resources. The Treaty makes it illegal to harm, or in any way interfere with, a penguin or its eggs. Every penguin specimen collected with a permit must be approved by and reported to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) (Sparks and Soper, 1987; Muller-Schwarze, 1984; del Hoyo, et al., 1992).

3. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species, including penguins. CITES categorizes various animals according to their current status.



Blogger Pen Ultimate said...

I want Rick Warren's head on that penguin!


1:49 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

heh. how 'bout the Laurabot's head? She has this uncanny resemblance...

1:39 AM  
Blogger Pen Ultimate said...

She looks more like The Joker than The Penguin... ;)

2:17 AM  

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