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Thread: Forget me not: Japan aquarium seeks video-chats for eels

  1. #1
    Elite Member Neptunia's Avatar
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    Jul 2011

    Default Forget me not: Japan aquarium seeks video-chats for eels

    Last edited by Neptunia; May 3rd, 2020 at 11:31 AM. Reason: Adding a photo of the cute little eels

  2. #2
    Elite Member Neptunia's Avatar
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    Jul 2011


    Japanese aquarium urges public to video-chat eels who are forgetting humans exist
    Sensitive creatures are starting to hide when keepers walk past, as a result of the lack of visitors

    When the garden eels at a Tokyo aquarium remove their heads from the sand, they are usually confronted by pairs of human eyes staring back at them through the glass.
    But like other animals around the world, the eels at Sumida Aquarium are finding their environment transformed by the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
    They also appear to be forgetting what humans look like. Concerned that the garden eels – so named because their grass-like appearance when, en masse, they poke their heads out of the seabed – could come to see visitors as a threat, the aquarium is asking people to get in touch in the form of a calming video calls.
    The aquarium, housed in Tokyo Skytree – Japan’s tallest structure – has been closed since the start of March and its garden eels have become used to a largely human-free environment.
    But the aquarium said the “unprecedented situation” had had put the eels and other creatures ill at ease.

    “They don’t see humans, except keepers, and they have started forgetting about humans,” it said on its Twitter account this week.
    “Garden eels in particular disappear into the sand and hide every time the keepers pass by,” it said, adding that their oversensitive nature was making it difficult to monitor their health.
    “Here is an urgent request,” the aquarium wrote. “Could you show your face to our garden eels from your home?” it said, naming the event a “face-showing festival”.
    While garden eels are sensitive and wary by nature, the 300 of them living in one of the aquarium’s tanks had grown accustomed to human visitors and rarely hid when approached by visitors.
    To help the eels reconnect with their admirers, the aquarium is setting up five tablets facing their tank, with users asked to connect through iPhones or iPads via the FaceTime app.
    Once the video calls start, people are asked to show their faces, wave and talk to the eels. But, given the animals’ natural bashfulness, they are requested not to raise their voices.
    The festival is scheduled for 3-5 May, at the height of the Golden Week holiday, when many people who would normally travel are staying home during the country’s Covid-19 state of emergency.
    The aquarium’s plea has attracted lots of online support, under the Japanese hashtag #PleaseRememberHumans.
    “‘When you gaze at the garden eels, the garden eels gaze at you.’ Understood. I’m happy to take part,” one Twitter user wrote.
    “They need training to learn humans are not a threat!” another wrote. “Interesting.”
    Many called on the aquarium to offer access to the eels via another app to allow those using PCs and phones with Android operating systems to take part.
    “I never regretted my Android phone this much before,” one wrote.
    Waterslide and rollo like this.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Neptunia's Avatar
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    Jul 2011


    I couldn't get both the picture of the eels and the story in one post!

  4. #4
    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Dec 2007


    Aw. Video chat with an eel lol
    I think lots of animals in zoos/rescue centres must be finding it strange without the usual visitors

  5. #5
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Wherever my kids are


    I didn't read the whole article, but those look like "garden eels", which I didn't know exist until I visited the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee around 2013 with the kids. That place is freaking great. They even had live Japanese giant spider crabs, which I never thought I would see in a tank in person. Garden eels somehow anchor their bodies in the sand so they stick up out of it like plants. Very cool.

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