Penguin is so scared of water she is given swimming lessons – Charlotte the king penguin has to be cajoled into the water by keepers
A baby penguin is so terrified of water she is having swimming lessons.
Zookeepers are desperately trying to help the flightless bird, called Charlotte, conquer her fear.
Head keeper Alistair Keen even donned a snorkel and got in with her to show her how it was done.
But the penguin is so scared that whenever she is carried into the water she tries to take off.
The king penguin hatched at Birdland Park & Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, and has been hand-reared ever since.
Mr Keen said: “Initially Charlotte was absolutely terrified at the prospect of getting her feathers wet.
“I know penguins can’t fly but she was making a pretty good attempt in her bid to avoid taking the plunge.
“In the wild the chicks only learn to swim by following their parents in to the water so I, as her adopted dad, felt obliged to get in and try to show her how it was done.
“At first it didn’t seem like she was ever going to get the hang of it, she certainly hasn’t taken to it like a duck to water.”
Charlotte was born in September but it was not know that she was a girl untl May.
Keepers have to wait until penguin chicks are around seven months old before sending feathers off for DNA analysis to confirm the sex.
They chose four potential names and then asked members of the public, which had just celebrated the birth of Princess Charlotte, to vote for their favourite.
Birdland is the only place in England to breed king penguins and Charlotte is the first chick successfully reared there in seven years and the first female chick to be born in nine years.
The egg was artificially incubated after several previous eggs had been broken by other penguins and Charlotte was hand-reared by Mr Keen with round-the-clock care.
King penguins are the second largest species of penguin, growing as tall as three feet and weighing up to 2.5 stone.
They are distinguishable by their orange tinted breasts, cheeks and beaks.
In the wild they live off small fish and squid and are native to the islands of northern Antarctica.
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