People all over the world have been enamored with the plight of emperor penguins ever since the documentary film “March of the Penguins” debuted in 2005. The film told the story of the epic voyage emperor penguins make every year in April, all for the purpose of breeding their young.
The male emperor penguin could be considered Father of the Year when you consider the lengths this Antarctic animal goes to for his hatchling. After traveling an average of 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the ocean to a hatching ground, penguins mate and the mother produces an egg that she passes to the father.
While the mother returns to the sea for food, the father sits on the egg for around 64 days until it hatches. Once the baby penguin emerges, the father keeps it warm and even feeds it nutrients secreted from his own esophagus until the mother returns.
Upon the mother’s return, parental duties are exchanged so the male penguin can return to sea for his first meal in over four months. By December, which is summer in Antarctica, the pack ice begins to melt, revealing the ocean underneath.
This happens just in time for the young emperor penguins, which are finally able to swim and collect food on their own.