29/04/2006 By dadmin 0

March of the Penguins

Last night we saw “March of the Penguins”.

On one hand I was amazed about the things I saw in the movie and on the other hand I felt bad about how little I knew about the emperor penguins. Most of the documentaries I’ve seen so far focused too much on how cute they are and so on, so I had no idea what they go through to keep their species go on. The movie opened my eyes to lots of things I had no idea about: how they travel so far to breed, how the mothers leave the eggs with the fathers for months while they go to feed themselves, how the fathers have to stay without food for about four months and endure terrible weather while trying to keep the eggs warm, how the mothers return from their feeding trip exactly after the eggs hatch, how the fathers leave on the feeding trip after they transfer the chicks to the mothers, and so on.

While I found out new things, lots of questions came up after the movie:

* What happens to the penguin pairs that remain without a baby, either because they could not protect the egg well enough (it seems it happens in a quarter of cases) or because the mother could not protect the chick well enough? Do they still remain a pair, even though they have no child? Do they still remain at the breeding place or just go back to the sea?
* What happens when a mother does not return? Will the father just leave the chick to die and go to feed? Is a chick ever “adopted” by a childless mother?

I think the movie shows very well that not everything is perfect in nature. It is quite sad that the penguins’ “home” is in the water, but they cannot actually breed there, they have to endure terrible ordeal to go and breed somewhere far where the ice is thick enough to survive melting untill the chicks are big enough to go out to the sea on their own. I wonder how long it took them to find that breeding place and what will be the impact of the climate change on their routine.

Another thing: in the movie I realized how small these penguins are ! I always thought that they are tall but they seemed to be about knee-high or smaller!

Anyway, amazing movie! Quite a memorable experience for me.