Antarctica is not on most people’s bucket list as a tourist destination, but it is warming up to the idea of visitors. One of the seven continents of the world, Antarctica is not home to humans. The cold, barren land does not give forth life in the usual way, but is home to many weird creatures both large and small. Self sustaining beings, which look like they are out of a science fiction movie, inhabit the land. Spiders, worms and strange insects join the main resident of the land, the towering dictatorship of the Emperor penguin.
Emperor penguins are natural inhabitants of Antarctica. Their lowly cousins and friends simply visit from time to time. The black, white and gray waddlers are tinged with orange and yellow and rule the roost at the south pole. The four feet tall birds spend most of their time socializing, mating and filling their stocky bodies with fish. Although they cannot fly, the impressive beasts can certainly dive and swim. They hunt for food in the ocean bringing in a plentiful supply of fish, squid and krill for themselves and their youngsters. The Emperor penguin towers way above the creepy, crawling neighbors with whom they share the land.
Contrary to popular belief, seals, walruses, other types of penguins and birds do not naturally inhabit Antarctica. The more even-tempered regions of the north seas make better homes for seals and walruses, while penguins congregate near Australia and many islands throughout the world. Penguins other than the Emperor have been known to visit the southern tip of the world from time to time, however. Most species of all animals do not migrate far from their homeland due to waters too cold or warm beyond a certain zone.
Explorers and scientists have long been fascinated with the continent of Antarctica, but no cities have ever been formed. With global warming, the temperature and possibilities could rise in the coming centuries. The lack of natural food for humans is much the same as it has been for survival of other animals as well. The insects and worms of Antarctica have an advantage with their built-in ability to almost freeze dry themselves and use their inborn protective mechanisms to survive.
The Emperor penguins have proven their long term existence on the continent and usually live up to twenty years. They appear to be of great intelligence and emotion with their tiny heads, and they are quite happy to be the lone rulers of the land. They have conformed their nature into a marching routine of pattern, predictivity and fascination. They tolerate other species for short term visits, but could be thrown off course if man was to introduce himself as well as other new animals to the continent. The control and ability that man has through technology and science provide many opportunities to change the world. The change of the natural world with forced migration could upset the balance of what has already been determined from long ago. Even if it is possible, is it necessary? Antarctica is the last frontier on Earth and with warmer temperatures humans could live there someday. If the Emperor of the continent has a vote, the answer would be no!
By: Roanne H. FitzGibbon