The Penguin: Not Your Typical Aussie Animal

Under the sweltering DC sun, the Embassy of Australia Education Team does everything to keep cool… and what better way to beat the heat than to read about penguins? They’re cute, cuddly, conjure comforting thoughts of cooler weather… and wouldn’t you know — they are also unquestionably Australian!

An Adélie penguin

Australia is one of seven countries that has claimed territory in the Antarctic: the Australian Antarctic Territory. The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is the government body that leads Australia’s Antarctic Program… which of course includes penguin research! The majority of the AAD’s research focuses on the Adélie Penguin (read more here). They also provide some general information about emperor penguins here. If you find yourself inclined to head south for penguin research, their website explains what it’s like to be a researcher and live in Antarctica — check it out here.

Not quite ready to brave the frigid Antarctic temperatures? The University of Tasmania‘s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies offers programs at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. There are also research programs available, including one on Marine and Antarctic Ecosystems… which can definitely mean there’s some penguin-studying involved. Read more about it here.

Fairy penguins doing what they do best... waddling

Finally, it is important not to forget the penguins who call mainland Australia home, like the Phillip Island Fairy Penguins. These tiny little dudes are the world’s smallest penguins and stand at about 33 centimeters tall (that’s approximately 13 inches). Every night, they swim ashore and waddle back to their nests for the night. The Phillip Island Penguin Parade organises tours so you can watch the penguins as they surf in and learn neat facts (did you know that penguins waddle because they don’t have knees?).  Check out the Phillip Island Nature Park website to learn more.

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