Eddie Gault, a researcher in the Australian Antartic Division accidentally left a rolling camera in Auster Rookery, Antartica which is mostly frequented by emperor penguins. Naturally, two penguins were curious to check what the device was. They began looking at its lens while the camera was rolling; the result? A rare and mystifying cute selfie (clip below).
The Australian Antartic Division uploaded a short clip of the selfie-loving penguins on their social media sites. They added that the video gives a bird’s eye view on life in the Antartic. For nearly 30 seconds, the pair can be seen closely examining the camera. Currently, the clip has about 615,000 views on Youtube.
The clip begins seeing only the feet of a single penguin. It seems to have kicked the camera so that the lens will face upward. The first penguin looks at the camera, to be followed by the second penguin. Then both of them, bend and look closer towards the camera lens. Afterward, they straighten up and shake their heads. It somehow looks like they agreed that the camera is just a piece of trash.
According to the Australian Antartic Division’s Facebook page, Penguins are curious animals. This may be the second time that the birds are caught fooling around with a camera. Last 2013, a Gentoo penguin took a selfie of its beak with a GoPro camera from a Canadian cruise ship.
Taking a selfie is also in the vocabulary of other animals. In Western Australian, an eagle was intended to record crocodiles, but it unexpectedly filmed itself flying and pecking at the lens. There is also a black macaque who took an Instagram-worthy selfie with David Slater’s camera, a British wildlife photographer. Slater published the photo in one of his books.
According to Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz, penguins and humans somewhat have a lot of similarities. They added that we could learn love and relationship lessons from the penguins of Antartica.
Penguins look out for each other, have fun by hanging out with their family/friends, and communicate effectively with each other. They are not shy in expressing their love. Adult penguins kiss their babies a lot. Couple penguins show their love for each other verbally. They say I love you by screaming out loud daily.
But these furry and lovable creatures are having some problems, and they need our help. A lot of issues threaten their life. Their populations decreased at about 80 percent. Most scientists agree that the main reason for it is the increasing temperatures, intense storms brought, reducing penguins’ food supply by climate change.
A 2015 study warned that with the current rate of plastic production and pollution, 99.8 percent of seabirds would be eating plastic trash. If a bird swallows a certain amount of plastic, it will be built up in its digestive system and prevent it from digesting natural food.
Meanwhile, African penguins are usually the victims of overfishing. These type of penguins often eat nutrient-riched sardines. But in the 1970s, the population of sardines decreased significantly because of overfishing.
Some penguins were forced to replace their diet with gobies, which is low in fat and nutrients. According to reports, some penguin populations declined because of this unhealthy diet. Other factors that threaten the penguin population include invasive predators, industrial development (it displaces the penguins’ critical nesting sites), oil spills, and illegal egg harvesting.
The selfies got viral, and it led to one thing: create awareness to take good care of these cute penguins. Since climate change poses a growing threat to these adorable fish-loving butlers, there are a lot of things we can do to minimize our carbon footprint.
We can help them by eating less meat, buying less stuff, reduce the instances of driving and flying as much as possible, and eating seafood from well managed and sustainable fisheries. One can also help by supporting campaigns from organizations like Oceana.
Their campaigns aim to reduce bycatch, end overfishing, and protect aquatic habitats. The selfies got viral in social media, and social media as a powerful tool becomes an outlet for these creatures to touch every soul. If we somehow do our part to save these animals, more cute selfies are coming.
Here’s the viral penguin selfie: