Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The march of the penguins

I have always liked penguins – they look so adorable waddling along in their tuxedo suits. But when I saw the movie “The march of the penguins” last night, I felt such renewed respect for them, for nature. Nature is simply astounding. How creatures in its fold manage to survive, to evolve and thrive. The movie tracks a group of Emperor Penguins in the icy wilderness of Antartica in their march inland where they breed and keep their species going. It is indeed a story of courage and determination – the penguins brave the harshest of cold conditions as they march nearly 70 miles in almost a single file, gracefully to their ancestral breeding ground. After the mating process, they manage to protect the egg under severely cold conditions (70 below zero and 150 mph winds) until it is ready to hatch. The males protect the eggs while the female goes to the ocean to feed herself. During this time the entire flock of males huddle together in a mass so as to conserve heat and resist the brutal cold. It is an incredible sight to see such cooperation amongst its members in order to survive. There are touching moments in this movie as if this were a family drama when you see the unfortunate penguin looking wistfully at the egg that did not survive the cold in the few seconds it takes to transfer it from the female to the male (while the female goes foraging for food) or when the newborn fails to survive if the mother is even a tad late in relieving the hungry male who is ready to transfer duty and go foraging for food himself. The cinematography is incredible and the icy, white glittering beauty of Antartica leaves you wishing if only you could witness it first hand. I felt thankful to the team for bringing the beauty of the continent and the story of the determined penguins to our living rooms (and theaters) for us to marvel at.

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