If you've ever had to grit your teeth and feign interest when a friend pulls out pictures of their children, counteract with a shot of your adoptive penguin.
There are seventeen different species of penguin in the world, but only one that lives and breeds in Australia. The Little Penguin, or eudyptula minor, is the smallest of penguin species, reaching an average 33 centimetres in height. They have greyish blue plumage and are also found in New Zealand. The Little Penguin was known until recently as the Fairy Penguin; contrary to internet rumours, the name was changed to more accurately reflect their scientific name, and not to avoid offending the gay community.
Phillip Island is a well known penguin habitat and breeding grounds, but unfortunately, penguins face many dangers. Natural predators like sharks and birds of prey and introduced animals like the fox can decimate penguin populations, but their biggest threat is humans. Humans are also their greatest defender.
The Penguin Foundation Phillip Island provides many services to help penguins thrive. One of these is the Adopt a Penguin programme. A $75 donation will be used to build a nesting box that will increase the safety of a penguin couple and their chances of breeding. In return, the adopter will receive membership to the foundation, photographs and updates on your penguin's progress and some other cool penguin-y bits and pieces. Adopt one for yourself or on behalf of a friend or family member – can you imagine the look on their face when you tell them you got them a penguin?
The cost of penguin adoption is tax deductible, so it's a gift that keeps on giving. The Penguin Foundation website provides more information on other ways you can help out.