Help the eels remember us by gawking at them from your own home.

It should come as no surprise that aquariums across Japan have been closed to the public to prevent further spreading of COVID-19. As a result, the lack of screaming school children on field trips and couples on dates is beginning to have an effect on the marine creatures inside.

At first that probably sounds like a good thing, but the staff at Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo Skytree are growing worried, particularly when it comes to their huge bed of garden eels.

Image: Wikipedia/salamander724

Garden eels are those little fish that burrow their bodies into the ocean floor and stick their heads out. When done in large numbers they resemble a group of plants, hence the name. In Japan they’re well-liked for their general cuteness and are called “chinanago” because their face resembles that of the Chin breed of dog.

Image: Wikipedia/Trysha

So in Japanese aquarium exhibits, garden eels were frequently visited and thus became very acclimated to human faces, but that has all changed and Sumida Aquarium has issued an emergency message to everyone:

“Due to the unprecedented long closure, an extraordinary situation is happening at Sumida Aquarium. The animals here never meet anyone except for the staff and are beginning to forget about humans. The garden eels in particular will immediately dive into the sand and hide when the staff pass by their tank.
So this is an urgent request: Would you like to show your face to our garden eels from your home?
This is the first time we’ve done something like this, so we don’t know if it will work. Still, we want to try and do whatever we can to help. Please help us out!”

It might not sound like a big deal, but this change in habits puts additional stress on the fish and makes it more difficult for staff to monitor and care for them. On top of that, the constant hiding puts them at a higher risk of injury and even affects how they interact with each other.

▼ All those eels panicking at the same time could mean big trouble

This call to arms has been dubbed the Chinanago Face Show Festival and will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from 3 to 5 May. Five iPads will be placed in front of the garden eel tank during these times and anyone can watch, and more importantly be seen by, the garden eels.

All you have to do is call up one of the following addresses on FaceTime during event times, which unfortunately means this is only open to Apple users.‌‌‌‌‌

However, since there’s only five monitors, that means only five people can get through at once. At least if it is too busy, we can rest assured the eels are getting the exposure they need.

Also, since this is quite likely the first project of its kind, there are no guarantees that you’ll even get to see the eels once connected. They might hide completely, just stick their heads out, or come out and swim around for a bit. It’s totally unpredictable.

But considering it takes almost no effort to help out, why not take a break from your busy schedule of online drinking parties with bikini models and give some dog-faced eels an eyeful for a change?

Source: Sumida Aquarium, Nari Nari Dot Com, My Game News Flash
Top images: Facebook/Sumida Aquarium
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