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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
In 2014, a couple got married at Sumida Aquarium in front of the eel tank and even had an eel-themed cake.
November 11 has been established as "Spotted Garden Eel Day" by the Japanese anniversary association.
To participate, use an Apple device capable of FaceTime to call one of these email addresses. Android calls are not allowed at this point.
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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