The Garden Eels of Tokyo are Forgetting About Humans, and Sumida Aquarium Needs Your Help

Tokyo Entertainment News 2020.05.02
Sumida Aquarium has a problem, so they're asking the internet for help... via facetime!
"Please remember humans!" reads the title of a recent event announcement from Sumida Aquarium, an aquarium within the shopping and entertainment facilities below TOKYO SKYTREE. Even before Tokyo's state of emergency began in early April, the aquarium had been closed for weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. This means that while the animals have had plenty of time to relax on their own, they haven't had much interaction with humans in the past couple months, aside from a handful of aquarium keepers. You can see just how empty the aquarium is by taking a look at their regularly updated Twitter account, which includes recent videos of penguins wandering the halls and admiring the animals from the other side of the glass.
  • According to the aquarium's recent announcement, this means that some of the aquarium's animals have grown a little too used to isolation. While the garden eels (small burrowing eels) of Sumida Aquarium once spent hours a day popping in and out of the sand, staring right back at the faces of the many human visitors without fear, it seems they've grown a little... shy. As soon as they see anybody walk by, even an aquarium keeper, they hide in the sand and refuse to come out. This means that their caretakers can't even make regular visual checks, necessary to keep tabs on the health of the eels. Well, we can't have shy garden eels, can we?
  • ↑(The poster features the caretakers begging for your help!)

    Which is why Sumida Aquarium is holding an "Emergency! Garden Eel Show-Your-Face Festival!" The plan, being put in place try to keep the little garden eels from forgetting about humans altogether, is simultaneously simple, very silly, and really very practical: for three days, anyone with an iPhone or iPad can call into the aquarium's Facetime accounts, and have a video call... with the garden eels. Forget the boring Zoom meetings you've probably been in for work lately! Chat with the garden eels instead!
  • ↑(Their Twitter post included this image that says "Please help us & stay home... show your faces so the garden eels will remember the existence of humans, until we can again open for business.)

    Want to participate? The cool thing about the event is that it's easy for anyone around the world to join in! Using the Facetime app, you can say hello to the garden eels of Sumida Aquarium without ever getting up from the couch. They even want you to speak to them and wave, so they get used to the sound and movement of humans again. Just call one of the designated e-mail addresses during the event hours to participate. (They ask that you keep your call to 5 minutes, to allow lots of people to join in!)

    Date: May 3 ~ 5
    Hours: every day from 10:30 to 14:00 (Japan Standard Time)
    Email Addresses:‌,‌,‌,‌,‌

    If you're lucky, you might even catch one of the garden eel feeding times! The eels get especially lively and enthusiastic, and the aquarium says it's not to be missed.

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