A lot of people are struggling with social distancing right now, but, apparently, no one is having a harder time than the spotted garden eels at Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium. Recently, aquarium employees noticed that these eels have taken to burrowing themselves into the sand at the bottom of their tanks whenever somebody walks by. During normal operating conditions, the eels would be more desensitized to the sudden appearance of humans and wouldn’t be nearly as skittish as they are in nature. Caretakers are now calling on users at home to help these poor eels get some face time with the adoring public and learn to socialize again.
Beginning on May 3, Sumida Aquarium launched an emergency three-day “face-showing festival” during which people at home can virtually visit the eels for five-minute video calls. The caretakers hope this experience will remind the eels what people look like and make them less likely to shy away from aquarium employees. This, in turn, allows the aquarium breeding staff to more easily perform health check-ups on the fish.
So, make some time in your busy Zoom schedule for these lonely eels, if you can. More info on how to participate in these emergency hangouts can be found here, though you’ll need to translate the page from Japanese.
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