Golden Week plans are unfortunately a no-go in Japan this year for many. So how about saving a Japanese eel during your vacation instead? Sumida Aquarium will be hosting a “Face Reveal Festival” in order to rescue their spotted garden eel friends!
A Japanese spotted garden eel is an adorable, colorful creature you can find at aquariums all throughout Japan. Their tiny faces and vibrant patterns are a favorite among many who visit.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Sumida Aquarium, along with many other establishments, have closed to the public. For their spotted garden eels, the absence of people have led to a concerning, unusual change in their behavior. The eels, who were once acclimated to seeing groups of people, are now scared of humans. Instead of hanging out above the sand like normal, they will cower away into the sand if someone comes by to check on them.
Why this is a big problem:
This makes it very hard for staff to properly take care of the eels. Caretakers are unable to check if any eels have fallen ill, or are in need of any special care. As they continue to hide themselves from caretakers, the eels are at risk of stress and their health declining.
About 300 spotted garden eels are currently in the care of Sumida Aquarium. Before the outbreak, the eels hardly buried themselves in the presence of humans. Despite their wary nature, they were accustomed to people. Since the Aquarium closed on March 1, 2020, the eels behavior towards humans changed in a way that puts them at risk. This issue calls for staff to think critically about how to save these animals before the situation worsens.
So what can we do?
The solution is obvious: the eels need to re-acclimate to seeing human faces so they no longer experience anxiety and can receive care. But how is that possible while maintaining social distancing orders?
Sumida Aquarium has turned to technology for the answer. By utilizing the iOS feature of FaceTiming, people can greet the eels in the comfort of their own home. Staff hope that by displaying people’s faces on screens and having them interact with the eels, it will ease their stress.
Now you can be a part of the project to rescue a Japanese eel at Sumida Aquarium! If you own any iOS device and can access FaceTime, you can join the festival. The schedule is as follows:
May 3rd, 4th, and 5th
Time: 10:30 – 14:00 (JST)
If you’re available these dates, you can FaceTime the addresses below:
All you have to do is enter one of the addresses and select the video call option. When you’re connected, please wave and gently call out to the eels to encourage them.
As there are only five screens available, everyone will have 5 minutes to interact with the eels before switching with another person. The staff hope that by showing many different faces, it will have the same effect as a festival for the eels.
For more info on Sumida Aquarium, please visit their website at: https://www.sumida-aquarium.com/en/
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