Aquar­ium sends baby pen­guins to ‘ kinder­garten’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA in Dalian, Liaon­ing

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, re­turn to the crowd.

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

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