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Aquarium sends baby penguins to 'kindergarten'

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-29 08:08

Sunasia Ocean World, an aquarium in Dalian, Liaoning province, has sent more than 20 young penguins to a "kindergarten" where they will learn survival skills.

The penguins will be in class for two months, learning to eat on their own and practicing swimming, according to Han Han, a keeper at the aquarium.

Penguins go to the kindergarten when they are 1 month old, Han said. "At this time, they need to eat about 1 kilogram of fish per day, but adults only eat 0.8 kg and, in captivity, they cannot meet the youngsters' demands," he said.

When a young penguin goes hungry, it is liable to attack its parents with its beak. The adults are not too keen on this and would rather abandon them than be wounded.

"We must teach them how to eat on their own," Han said.

The kindergarten also helps the youngsters get to know each other, before the important business of finding a mate, he added.

In the first month of separation, young penguins are kept next door to their parents, with the little ones refusing to eat, hiding from their keepers and honking. Next door, the anxious parents pace back and forth, trying to find a gap so that they can feed their babies.

"In the second month, the young penguins are moved further away from their parents and learn to swim, which is good for their muscles and bones," Han said.

After graduation, they return to the crowd.

Sunasia Ocean World has the largest penguin population in China, with more than 100 gentoo and king penguins.

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