February 17, 2012
HARBIN, CHINA (CNN) -- Despite being a natural-born swimmer, one small penguin at an animal park in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province is too timid to dive into the water.
The little penguin's fear has brought laughs to many visitors at the park.
Born at the Harbin Polarland in the provincial capital Harbin, the young penguin is now becoming an adult, an important transitional period when penguins improve their swimming techniques.
Although penguins are born with the ability to swim, the young one in the aquarium does not dare to dive into the pool and just stands fluttering its wings at the waterside.
One of the Polarland's animal trainers has tried to help by placing it directly into the water, but the bird frantically swam back to the bank the moment it was submerged.
Penguins do know how to swim, but they have to learn how to climb up ashore, according to Meng Lingbo, an animal trainer at the park. Most of them cannot control their direction and speed while swimming.
To help the young penguins gain more aquatic skills, their parents will cheer for them in the water and demonstrate proper form. If they take too long to make it back to the bank, trainers will rescue the birds to keep them from getting exhausted.