Please talk to the eels — otherwise, they may forget humans exist.
This is the plea that workers at Japan’s Sumida Aquarium are making with the public.
Closed since the beginning of March due to the coronavirus, the Tokyo aquarium has been free of all but workers for months, and its sensitive garden eels are beginning to lose all concept of what people are.
“They don’t see humans, except keepers, and they have started forgetting about humans,” the aquarium tweeted this week, the Guardian reports.
This specific eel type has an especially delicate nature, and the aquarium’s lot are beginning to get spooked whenever someone walks by their tank.
“Garden eels, in particular, disappear into the sand and hide every time the keepers pass by,” the aquarium reports. The change is making staff concerned about the snake-like fishes’ health, which is tough to monitor.
As a solution, the aquarium is calling on fans of its 300 garden eels to check in with them virtually, in what it referred to on Twitter as a “face-showing festival.”
“Here is an urgent request,” writes the aquarium. “Could you show your face to our garden eels from your home?”
Five tablets have been set up facing the tanks so good eel Samaritans can simply call in via FaceTime and greet their slippery buddies. The aquarium asks that, in addition to showing face, virtual visitors also wave and chat with the eels, even if the conversation will be extremely one-sided.
The campaign has become popular online, with eel friends using the hashtag #PleaseRememberHumans to show their support.