Award-Winning Photograph of Two Widowed Penguins Comforting Each Other Wins Hearts
The year 2020 hasn’t been what most of us planned or expected it to be. The coronavirus pandemic disrupted all the plans and humans were coerced to stay indoors for several months. While, the year wasn’t much productive for humans, wildlife thrived in the absence of human interference; and many poignant and powerful wildlife photographs were able to put a dampener on the sadness of not being able to get out of the house.
Amidst all the amazing wildlife photographs, a precious moment of friendship shared by two widowed penguins has not only won hearts but secured the Community Choice Award in Oceanographic magazine’s Ocean Photography Awards.
In the heartwarming photograph, the two Fairy penguins appear to be comforting each other. The German photographer, Tobias Baumgaertner captured this moment in Melbourne almost one and a half years ago. St. Kilda Pier in Melbourne has a colony of around 1,400 fairy penguins, the smallest penguin species with an average height of just 33 centimeters. The colony is monitored by volunteers.
The photographer was told by a volunteer that the white one in the picture was an elderly female who had lost her partner and apparently so did the young male to the left. Since their loss, they started meeting regularly, comforting each other and standing together for hours watching the flickering city lights.
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Baumgaertner spent three nights at the pier with the penguin colony before he captured this photograph. He said,
Between not being able or allowed to use any lights and the tiny penguins continuously moving, rubbing their flippers on each other’s backs and cleaning one another, it was really hard to get a shot. But I got lucky during one beautiful moment.
The photograph of two penguins embracing each other while standing on the rock and looking over at the Melbourne lights, has won hearts and has become viral on social media. It has received several positive comments and has been widely shared.