ISMRD believes penguins symbolize both the important bond of family, especially between parent and child, and the belief that the impossible can be overcome. To understand the nature of penguins in real life is to understand the correlation to ISMRD, its values and the depth of the bond within families affected by a Glycoprotein Storage Disease.
Penguins in Nature
Penguins are flightless birds that reside entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, primarily in the cooler subtemperate climate north of the Antarctic. Penguins have adapted over time to flightlessness by evolving their bodies to a form that has enabled them to become masters of the ocean. Their great advantage is found in their "wings," or flippers, which allow them to create thrust that propells them forward through the water. On average, a penguin can achieve submerged speeds of 4 to 8 km per hour, or about 2 to 4 knots per hour. And though they may appear very clumsy on land, they are, in fact, able to walk faster at shorter distances than a human and are, in fact, quite agile!
Size among the different penguins species range from the large Emperor, almost 3 feet or 1 metre in height, to the smallest that are about a foot (1/3 metre) in size. Most penguin species have developed patterns of behavior that allow them to adapt to the severity of the climates in which they reside. Among the most severe, extreme climates is the one found in Antarctica, where the Emperor and Adelie penguins reside.
Emperor penguin mates share completely in raising their young ones, called chicks, and have one of the most unusual breeding strategies of all birds. Breeding is usually done in colonies that are as far as 200 km or 120 miles inland. After the egg has been laid by the mother, the father incubates the egg between his feet and the folds of his belly. The mother will then go out to the ocean for up to two months to fish and feed, while the father stays back to maintain the incubation process. During this time, the father penguin will not eat, while huddled together in large masses to withstand the severe temperatures (up to -60 celcius/-140 farenheit) and preserve body heat. After hatching, the mother returns and relieves the father of duty, so that he can travel the enormous distance back to sea to finally feed.
Penguins In Hollywood
Penguins were officially recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on March 5, 2006 when the documentary film March of the Penguins was honored with the Oscar for Best Documentary. Congratulations to Luc Jacquet and Yves Darondeau, producers of this flim, for such an inspiring cinematic story!
The Penguins of ISMRD
Like penguins in real life, our penguins show great adaptability to their harsh environment, manifested in the diseases that have afflicted their children. ISMRD's penguins are learning to symbolically fly and overcome the disadvantages of genetics and the clinical symptoms that have ensued. Our penguins will eventually "fly" by finding treatments and cures for these diseases and, in the meantime, will find ways to support one another across nations and differences in language.
ISMRD's logos (the penguin family on our home page, our worker penguins explaining storage in Lysosomal Diseases and our plucky pilot penguin who pops in here and there) were created specifically for ISMRD and copyrighted by Denis Rodier of Rodier Studio in L'Annonciation, Quebec Canada. Any unauthorized reproduction of these images is forbidden without the express written consent of ISMRD and Denis Rodier. However, we do hope you enjoy them and that they convey the sense of familial pride we feel for our children and families!
For more on penguins, the following books and websites are recommended:
- Penguins: A Portrait of the Animal World by Derek Hastings; published 1997 by Smithmark Publishers; ISBN: 0-7651-9217-9
- The Nature of Penguins by Jonathan Chester; published 2001 by Celestial Arts; ISBN: 1-58761-120-1
- Penguins by Frans Lanting; published 1999 by TASCHEN GmbH; ISBN: 3-8228-2415-1
- Penguin Planet: Their World, Our World by Kevin Schafer; published 2000 by NorthWorld Press; ISBN: 1-55971-745-9
- Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best by Berkeley Breathed; published 2004 by Little, Brown; ISBN: 0-31615-994-8
- Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra; published 1998 by Gulliver Books; ISBN: 0-15-201006-8
- Without You by Sarah Weeks; published 2003 by HarperCollins;
- Penguins! by Gail Gibbons; published 1999 by Holiday House;