Aquarium asks people to video call its garden eels that are ‘forgetting’ humans amid COVID-19

/ 07:17 PM May 02, 2020

An aquarium in Japan will be holding a three-day “emergency event” for its garden eels, which seemed to have developed a newfound shyness in the presence of human beings after aquariums, zoos and other leisure parks have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sumida Aquarium, located at Japan’s tallest structure, Tokyo Skytree, is the home to hundreds of spotted garden eels, which have been acting odd whenever the aquarium’s workers pass by its tank, Quartz reported on April 30.


The event, named “Face-showing Festival,” will start this Sunday, May 3, until Tuesday, May 5, according to the aquarium’s website.

The aquarium suspects that the eels have become unfamiliar with humans since the place has been closed since March 1.


The garden eels usually submerge themselves in the sand, according to the aquarium’s website. They are also known to be vigilant and sensitive creatures. But since the aquarium usually has many visitors, the eels have learned to accept the presence of human beings.

The aquarium expressed its concern over the eels’ new behavior because it makes it difficult for the aquarium’s keepers to monitor the eels’ health.

The aquarium showed how the eels respond to a human being approaching its tank via its Twitter post today, May 2. When the eels sensed that someone was approaching, all of them that had emerged from the sand immediately hid and became unviewable in the video.

The aquarium also said that this will be its first attempt to expose the eels to humans via teleconferencing and is uncertain if it will deliver positive results.

The website stated that people may video call them via Facetime, attaching five different email addresses that people can contact on its website. It also advised potential callers to refrain from making loud noises. Each call can only last five minutes. Cha Lino /ra



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TOPICS: aquarium, coronavirus, COVID-19, eels, Japan
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