Friday, February 19, 2010

Co-operative parenting - Parenting in animal world - Part I

Long time back, I saw this National Geographic documentary titled "March of the Penguins". (The official NatGeo site for the film, Watch the short video). It is truly very touching and one of the most memorable documentary that I have seen. It celebrates true love and sacrifice in bringing a new life into this world.

This is the story of the Emperor Penguins who travel all the way to the remotest part of the Antarctic. For some twenty days and nights they walk through harsh conditions until they find a suitable place. The female lays one single egg and shifts it onto the feet of the male which will now take over the job of protecting the egg until it hatches. By now the female penguins have not eaten for two months and hence they leave for the seas to feed and also to get food for their baby chicks! Amazing isn't it?

Now the male penguins huddle together and incubate the egg and finally by the time the chick is hatched the father penguin has not eaten for nearly four months!! It has lost half of its body weight. This is what I call co-operative parenting. I don't think we can see this phenomenon even in higher mammals, in any case not in human beings.

By now the female penguins return and the males transfer their parenting duty to the female and then go to the seas which is about 70 miles to feed in that cold weather. Finally the saga ends with the male penguins returning back to unite with their families. This continues throughout the lifetime of the Penguins.

I recommend that it is a must watch for those who have not seen it yet and for those of you who have then surely there is a lot to be learnt with regard to parenting. Specially all the men out there can learn a thing or two from these wonderful male penguins. Hope there will be more men getting into co-operative parenting.


Dr. Suhasini said...

Yes Shobana, it's truly wonderful. I haven't watched this video but I suggest the animated movie 'Happy Feet' - it's been screened many times on HBO. It's an amazing movie depicting the life of penguins with a message of maintaining the equilibrium of eco-system with a beautiful story line appealing to adults and kids alike - the coperative parenting is also shown. I'm sure you would get new ideas too to write about!

shobhana shenoy said...

Hi Dr. Suhasini,
Thanks for your comment and yes I have seen "Happy Feet". I liked it a lot too. Guess we humans have lot more to learn from our animal friends.