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Witness the great penguin race
How Phillip Island's popular penguin parade went viral.
Adorable, fluffy animals have always been a favourite of the internet, but during isolation they can, at times, feel like the only thing capable of cheering you up. From zoos around the world live streaming the antics of their residents when no one is around, to people sharing videos of wildlife reclaiming empty streets, there’s furry friends in all shapes and sizes to keep you entertained. And one of the most popular videos hails from right here in Victoria – Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade.
What started as a typical video of the island’s residents returning home after a meal quickly went viral after Scottish BBC sports commentator Andrew Cotter narrated the ‘race’ back to the burrow.
For sports fans left devastated by the cancellation of events around the globe, this is the next best thing – with all the highs, lows, sneaky tactics and even a surprise victory – during the penguins' competitive waddle over the dunes.
Speaking about the narration, Andrew said, “I knew all about the penguins of Phillip Island before this and have visited Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road or Mornington Peninsula every year for the past fifteen years. I love it all down there so this was a natural fit.”
Phillip Island Nature Parks' chief executive Catherine Basterfield said this was a wonderful way to share our amazing little penguins with the rest of the world.
"The penguins are quite comfortable in front of an audience as they are used to doing their nightly waddle in front of visitors at the Penguin Parade, but this kind of global recognition goes above and beyond," Catherine said. "The penguins never fail to entertain with their antics, and Andrew’s wonderful wit has captured this beautifully."
Tourism Australia also got in on the action with a fun bedtime story for the penguins on Sunday night, narrated by Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli.
Located just 90 minutes from Melbourne, Phillip Island Nature Parks is a unique conservation organisation that operates a range of ecotourism experiences. The daily parade of little penguins draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over, who line the observation boardwalks at dusk to see them race up Summerland Beach to their burrows.
Phillip Island Nature Parks, including the world-famous Penguin Parade, is currently closed to tourists to help slow the spread of coronavirus, but the work continues behind the scenes to look after the animals and their habitat.