Featured Image Credit: National Aquarium of New Zealand
Few animals are able to grab the attention and affection of humans quite like penguins. The National Aquarium of New Zealand is home to some of the best and you can officially give your favorite a chance to steal the spotlight with the Aquarium’s first ever Penguin of the Year Awards. Aptly coined, the Little Penguins are the smallest species in the world standing at only 30 centimeters tall and weighing up to one kilo.
These particular Little Penguins captured hearts worldwide one year ago when the Aquarium introduced its “Naughty or Nice of the month” awards. Winners Timmy and Betty became sensations when their photos were posted on social media. Their profiles along with those of the other penguins who have been featured in this monthly competition are posted on the website beside the voting form. Peruse their characteristics to learn more about what makes each one of them special.
These competitions and their subsequent posts give the National Aquarium of New Zealand a unique opportunity not only to have a little fun, but also spread their conservation message. While the antics of these penguins are entertaining, they are there for a much more important reason. The Penguin Cove and Rehabilitation Centre is their home while they recover from whatever ailment has landed them there.
Whether they were abandoned as chicks, became sick or injured in the wild, are partially sighted or missing flippers due to getting caught in fishing nylon, the staff at the National Aquarium of New Zealand are dedicated to saving their lives. Once strong enough, they are sent back to their natural habitat or to find a permanent home in the comfort of the Aquarium if they never fully recover.
Fortunately, the Aquarium and its staff provide a wonderful home to these beloved penguins. Due to its sea-adjacent location, there is a constant supply of fresh salt water for the penguins’ pools, making them feel right at home. There is no need to use potentially harmful chemicals to recreate the seawater. Their health is also taken care of with a luxurious diet. They dine on three meals a day with platters of herring, mackerel, kahawai, krill or squid.
If these penguins, or the mission of the Aquarium, has made an impact on you, you have the month of October to make it known. The first round of voting has begun and ends on October 10th, narrowing the pool down to two finalists who will be announced on October 12th!
Check out some of the cute candidates below and learn more about each one while casting your vote for your favorite here!
The second round of voting will take place in the form of a poll on social media platforms so be on a look out for that and be sure to stay tuned for the final announcement for Penguin of the Year to be made on October 31st!