Insight & Analysis

Night at the… aquarium?

Published: Mar 2020

The penguins at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago have stolen the hearts of internet users everywhere.

Rockhopper penguins

Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has shared some videos of its penguins being let out for a wander in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Like many others, the building has been closed to visitors to try to contain the spread of the virus, and so a group of rockhopper penguins were allowed out of their habitat to explore the rest of the aquarium.

The aquarium has been sharing videos to its Twitter, showing various penguins exploring different parts of the building. They’ve inspected tanks with piranhas, stingrays, dolphins and otters.

A spokesperson explained the decision to take the penguins on a field trip: “Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals, introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviours.”

At a time when many are cooped up at home and worried about the global situation, it’s nice to know that some penguins are having fun, and that we can share their experience through social media!

Other zoos and aquariums are encouraging virtual visits too. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is hosting virtual animal shows for children whose schools have shut down. The Dallas Zoo has been sharing behind-the-scenes footage and educational videos using the #BringTheZooToYou, while the Oregon Zoo has been keeping the social media accounts updated with videos of creatures and are working on ways to bring educational content to people’s living rooms.

The San Diego Zoo has been directing people to ten live webcams featuring the zoo’s koalas, penguins, tigers and other animals. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has also invited people to view its webcams, showing jellyfish, penguins and sharks, as well as birds and sea mammals that find refuge in the bay.

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