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A Tokyo Aquarium Needs You to FaceTime Their Shy Eels Right Now

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MARY MEISENZAHL, BUSINESS INSIDER
5 MAY 2020

Coronavirus shutdowns are hard on everyone, including the eels.The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo made an unlikely request, asking people to video call the organisations 300 garden eels.

 

Keepers at the aquarium posted videos on social media showing the eels hiding in their burrows whenever people approached, and they asked the public to help. Now, the aquarium is facilitating FaceTime calls to the eel tank to help the animals stay used to people.

Here's how it works.

Garden eel. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)Garden eel. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo has 10,000 marine animals from 400 species. The aquarium would welcomed visitors every day, so the eels were accustomed to humans.

Garden eels. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)Garden eels. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

Typically, this species of tiny eels is cautious around humans, diving into the sand when someone approaches. Since the March 1 closure, keepers noticed that the garden eels were hiding when people approached. Keepers must be able to inspect eels to monitor their health and breeding, which is difficult when they hide from people.

(The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)(The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

The aquarium came up with a unique solution: invite people to FaceTime the eels, so they can once again become accustomed to seeing humans. Five tablets were set up along the tank where the eels are kept.

Sumida Aquarium eels. (Reuters)Sumida Aquarium eels. (Reuters)

Anyone is invited to call with an iPad or iPhone between 10 am and 2 pm between May 3 and May 5, Tokyo local time [editor's note: 1 am to 5 am UTC or 9 pm to 1 am, New York time].

Anticipating the popularity of the calls, people are asked to spend only about five minutes before letting someone else have a turn.

FaceTiming Sumida Aquarium eels. (Reuters)FaceTiming Sumida Aquarium eels. (Reuters)

These tiny eels have been popular in Japan for years. Video-sharing website Nico Nico Douga livestreamed more than 100 hours of the eels in 2014 to nearly 800,000 viewers.

(The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)(The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

In 2014, a couple got married at Sumida Aquarium in front of the eel tank and even had an eel-themed cake.

(The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)(The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

November 11 has been established as "Spotted Garden Eel Day" by the Japanese anniversary association.

Feeding eel. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)Feeding eel. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

To participate, use an Apple device capable of FaceTime to call one of these email addresses. Android calls are not allowed at this point.

To call:

Helpchin001[at]gmail.Com Helpchin002[at]gmail.Com Helpchin003[at]gmail.Com Helpchin004[at]gmail.Com Helpchin005[at]gmail.Com

Find more information from Sumida Aquarium.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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