World Penguin Day 2024


Above: Watercolor painting by Aya Tsuchiya, honorable mention in last year’s World Penguin Day art contest

April 25 every year is World Penguin Day. It is a day to recognize the importance of this amazing species and promote the protection of their habitat. 

FoE Japan is the Japanese member group in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC). Every year ASOC holds a World Penguin Day art contest. For this year’s World Penguin Day, in its 2024 social media campaign ASOC is featuring a watercolor painting by Japanese artist Aya Tsuchiya, who received honorable mention last year. About her work, Aya said, “I would like to preserve penguins, Antarctic and other nature. Penguins do not fly in the sky, but they do fly in the ocean. It must be beautiful!" Aya told FoE Japan, “I am very honored to have my work featured.

Check here for 2024 winners (to be announced on April 25). Look for @AntarcticaSouth (Twitter/X) and @antarcticsouthernocean (Instagram), or visit ASOC website.

Penguins are loved by many as some of the cutest animals on the planet. But they are at risk. Every month we learn more about the impacts of climate change and human activity on penguins and biodiversity in Antarctica. We must act more quickly, before it’s too late.

In October 2024, Japan and other members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will meet again to discuss measures on the management of the Southern Ocean, including marine protected areas (MPAs). There are currently three concrete proposals for MPAs (Antarctic Peninsula, Weddel Sea, and East Antarctic), as part of a complete future network.

#WorldPenguinDay is an opportunity to not only celebrate these creatures, but to also raise awareness of the key threats they face and to ask leaders at CCAMLR to take action ahead of this important meeting. 

What is the connection with Japan? 

  • The government’s involvement in CCAMLR is heavily dominated by the Fisheries Agency and fisheries interests. The Ministry of the Environment should have a role to play. More voices of civil society should be involved. 
  • Krill is an important food in the food chain for penguins and whales. Japanese companies do not currently catch krill in Antarctica. But they want to go back and start again. And some companies are actively promoting krill consumption and market development in Japan. 
  • Japan stopped whaling in the Antarctic in 2019. A new Japanese whaling ship capable of going to Antarctica was just launched in April. But it should never go there!
  • Japan will host the Antarctic Treaty Consultatative Meeting (ATCM) in 2026, after India (2024) and Italy (2025) and before Korea (2027). Japan has the potential to show leadership and work with these countries to build international momentum to create MPAs in the Antarctic.
  • Japanese scientists work with scientists from other countries in the Antarctic. They could do a lot more to support the science that supports MPAs.

If you love penguins, on World Penguin Day in 2024, you could take actions like these:

  • Contact FoE Japan ( or
    • (1) To ask for materials to study the issues
    • (2) To Volunteer for our Antarctic MPA project
  • Donate to our Antarctic MPA project – ( or
  • Write to your member of parliament to encourage Japan to
    • (1) Support “30×30” (protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, including the Southern Ocean)
    • (2) Support the creation of Antarctic MPAs at CCAMLR
    • (3) Let Japan’s Environment Ministry get more involved in Antarctic marine protection
    • (4) Sign and ratify the BBNJ (Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction). Many countries have already done so, but not Japan.
  • Encourage Japanese scientists to sign this open letter “Scientists Uniting to Protect Antarctica’s Southern Ocean” 

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