Penguins, Viagra and Soccer


Photo: Colby Katz for The New York Times

A recent piece in the New York Times addressed the declining African Penguin population. These guys are down 60% over the last few years and scientists are struggling to determine the reason. In an American zoo the pairing of two such penguins started off slowly, but they seem to be making progress now. I have to believe that the fact the female is named Derek had something to do with the male’s initial reluctance to jump at her flirtations. Let’s face it, these are bright animals who are no doubt in tune with current events. The popularity of transgender stars Caitlyn Jenner and the TLC series ‘I am Jazz’ would give any male penguin pause for thought.

To mate for life would a) be exhausting and b) have the Viagra and Cialis people slaughtering penguins by the thousands in the name of curing erectile dysfunction.

Although there are cultures in which arranged marriages work well, I don’t think the answer is to be found in forced pairing. I believe these tuxedo-clad swimmers need a website along the lines of Penguin Mingle ( www.penguinmingle.com) to select suitable mates via a rigorous screening process.

Is religion the problem? Of course not, given their penchant for dressing like priests/nuns they are clearly all Catholic. Which also accounts for the fact that there are no divorces in the penguin world. Ergo, no divorce lawyers  (although the number of them in the shark kingdom more than compensates). When you are a penguin, you only get one chance. It is often said that they mate for life, actually they are mated for life. To mate for life would a) be exhausting and b) have the Viagra and Cialis people slaughtering penguins by the thousands in the name of curing erectile dysfunction.  

Research now indicates that it seems the falling birthrate may be linked to the penguin practice of having the fathers incubate the newly laid eggs. Every morning after breakfast the male penguin picks up the egg and makes his way to the prearranged meeting place where his fellow fathers congregate. Once there he pops the egg on the top of his feet and covers it with his belly. The rest of the process requires doing nothing, making this an ideal male task.

… while watching a soccer match, an excited male would reflexively make a kicking motion thereby launching the egg he was incubating several metres.

While standing there incubating, the penguin dads chat, or play cards or watch sports on an iPad. They are, of course, big fans of NHL hockey, rooting for the team from Pittsburgh. But in an effort to increase the population, they now have a strict NO SOCCER rule in place. This is difficult living on the coast of a soccer-mad continent, but it was deemed essential. Before the rule was enacted, on countless occasions while watching a soccer match, an excited male would reflexively make a kicking motion thereby launching the egg he was incubating several metres and, well, scrambling junior. Aside from stifling the birthrate, this also produced great feelings of guilt in the penguins, given their Catholic faith’s take on abortion.

Scientists are hopeful that by limiting the watching of soccer, the penguin population will once again begin to grow.

 

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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2 thoughts on “Penguins, Viagra and Soccer

  1. Alas, but arranged marriages are also problematic in other animal populations. Turns out, our furred and feathered friends actually prefer to choose their own mates. Imagine that! Apes are especially picky. Apparently there are subtle qualities that are not obvious to “human” eyes, noses, and ears. We don’t speak proper Ape.

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