Huddled together trying to keep warm in the brutal Antarctic cold, these incredible images show that penguins truly are among Nature’s the best parents.
Having trekked up to 75 miles inland and over wind-swept ice to reach the perfect breeding spot, adult Emperor Penguins then surround their young chicks as they struggle to survive at a place so inhospitable that few other animals ever venture there. Sprinkled with snow, the tiny chicks stay close to their mothers and fathers in the midst of the icy blast.
Female Emperor Penguins lay a single egg and then hand it over to the male to cradle on his feet. Crucially, the handover must be done without the egg touching the freezing ground — otherwise the chick would die. The female then makes the long slog back to the sea to feed. The male, on the other hand, remains with the egg, protecting it from the extreme Antarctic cold for more than two months, during which time he eats nothing.
When the female finally returns, she brings back with her their now hatched chick’s first meal. To find her mate and baby among the crowd, she calls for them. She now takes over the caring for the chick while the male makes the arduous journey to the sea. The parents then take turns to care for their chick and forage at sea.
When the young penguins are about 45-50 days old, they huddle together to form a cr├¿che while both parents head out to sea and return periodically to feed the chicks until they are old enough to fend for themselves. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Adult Emperor Penguins surround their tiny young as they struggle to survive the freezing conditions in Antarctica.
2. Mothers and fathers face a daily battle against the harsh condition to keep their young alive.
3. This tiny snow speckled chick is being looked after by his father while his mother goes off for two months to look for food.
4. The tiny fluffy chicks cluster together to keep warm as the temperatures plummet.
5. The tiny chick braves the cold to move away from the other chicks.
6. A group of young penguins play together on the ice in Antarctica.
7. These youngsters are around 40 to 50 days old.
8. Emperor Penguins’ sleeping chicks, covered in snow, sheltering in brood pooches.
9. A creche of chicks snuggle together as their parents search for food.
10. These four little chicks follow one adult emperor penguin as they march over the ice sheet.
11. Emperor Penguins form creches for their young so they can go off and look for food.
12. A brave penguin chick poses for photographer Fred Olivier.
And here is a video of Emperor Penguins creating a gigantic traffic jam:
Source: The Daily Mail.
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