Penguins at Japanese aquarium, unhappy about eating cheaper fish
Inflation and increased food costs have forced the penguins and otters at Japan’s Hakone-en Aquarium, roughly an hour south of Tokyo, to alter their diets, something the creatures do not appreciate.
There is no response when an aquarium employee waves a mackerel in front of a penguin. The penguin snubs her when she brings the fish closer to its beak. After smelling the fish, the otter takes off running.
Penguins and otters were previously fed “aji,” or Japanese horse mackerel, by the aquarium.
Unfortunately, the aquarium, which houses 32,000 species, including sharks and seals, was not exempt from the worldwide economic downturn. The aquarium claims that the price of aji has risen by 20% to 30% since last year.
So in May, the aquarium began using “saba,” or mackerel, as a cheaper alternative.
In order to convince the animals to consume the mackerel, aquarium employees have had to come up with exciting ways to get them to do so, such as mixing it with their favorite aji.
TV Asahi, a CNN affiliate, quoted aquarium keeper Hiroki Shimamoto saying, “Ideally, they would like to have a full aji, but they are patiently eating mackerel.”
Additionally, the aquarium has reduced the number of circulation pumps from two to one, which has resulted in a 40% to 50% reduction in the aquarium’s electricity expenses.
Shimamoto added, “We could raise the admission fee to the aquarium and fix this issue, but we would like to do our best to keep our facility a comfortable place for our guests to visit. We do not plan on raising admission prices.”
According to the aquarium, penguins and otters have specific fish preferences, and the aquarium does everything it can to meet those preferences and needs.
A statement from the aquarium, “All of the animals at the aquarium are family, and we do our best to keep them healthy,” it said. “We would never force any animal to eat what they don’t want. We would like to have as many people (as possible) come and visit Hakone and enjoy our animals.”