As the COVID-19 virus causes people around the world to stay at home and self-quarantine, popular tourist attractions are being forced to temporarily shut down. However, several zoos and aquariums across the United States are encouraging people to welcome their beloved exotic animals into their homes through online streaming.
Zoos and aquariums broadcasting webcam footage of their housed animals is nothing new; a quick online search will bring up dozens of webcam feeds from various establishments. However, the worldwide quarantines are prompting certain locations to get creative in order to lift the spirits of the masses.
For example, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium has recently allowed three rockhopper penguins, named Wellington, Edward and Annie, to roam the facility while employees documented their exploration.
“We want these guys to be out and around… comfortable in their homes,” said Steve Aibel, the senior director of animal behavior and training.
Penguins in the Amazon?!
Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd. Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising! The black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitor. pic.twitter.com/KgYWsp5VQD
According to Aibel, these penguin field trips are not uncommon at the aquarium. However, the nationwide quarantine has given the animals much more time to explore, and the caretaker’s more space to capture these trips on film.
Meanwhile, over at the Cincinnati Zoo, a series of “Home Safari” live streams are being shown every weekday. The series kicked off on March 16 with Fiona, the zoo’s world-famous three-year-old Nile hippo. Fiona herself became an online celebrity when she survived all odds after being born premature and underweight.
“Let us help make your children’s hiatus from school fun and educational,” said a statement on the zoo’s Facebook page. “Join us for a Home Safari Facebook Live each weekday at 3 pm (Eastern Time) where we will highlight one of our amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home.”
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