TOKYO - The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo is asking people to spend some time video chatting from Sunday, May 3 to Tuesday, May 5 with its collection of garden eels.
Why? Because the aquarium is worried about the eels’ health due to the recent disappearance of in-person human visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a translation of a news release from the aquarium, the eels usually peek their heads out from the sand in their enclosures when humans pass by. Now, the staff is unable to determine if the eels are in good health or not, with many lurking still in the sand.
Those who are interested in participating can make a video call from their iPhone or iPad app, according to the news release. The aquarium also notes that the eels still may hide their faces and that there could be connectivity problems due to how crowded the event may be.
While garden eels becoming shy is a unique fallout of the pandemic, aquariums providing live viewings of their undersea creatures has been common since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
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Japan, which had just over 14,000 COVID-19 cases as of May 1, has been particularly innovative in their means of finding solutions to pandemic problems. One Tokyo university opted to have a virtual graduation by using video chat.