Social distancing has negatively impacted spotted garden eels. The Tokyo Sumida Aquarium, home to a community of 300 of these eels, worries about the little ones. Very shy by nature, over the years in the aquarium, eels have adapted to the daily ritual, when hundreds of human faces with interest nestle on the glass. However, after the aquarium was closed to the public since March 1, employees have observed changes in their behavior.
As the "social" burden on spotted eels changed, the habit of seeing people in front of you began to be lost. Now, every time they see the aquarium workers walking by, they start to get nervous and bury themselves in the sand. In the wild, always wary eels would do just that at any sign of threat. But in captivity, this behavior makes it difficult for employees and zoologists to monitor their health.
For this reason, Sumida Aquarium has organized the "Face Show Festival" and begs the public for help. Employees have installed five displays around the aquariums, and people can now have a FaceTime chat with spotted eels by looking at them from those screens. Calls lasting five minutes can be made between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM Tokyo time. However, participation is only available through Apple devices.
If all goes well, viewers will see eels sticking their heads out of the sand, swimming and eating twice a day. Observers are also asked to refrain from harsh or loud noises that could scare the eels.