"Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals," the aquarium officials said.
With new restrictions imposed after the outbreak of the coronavirus, several companies are shutting down and letting their employees self-isolate themselves. Now, even the animals at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago are also getting a day off.
The aquarium has closed its doors to visitors to play its part in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, according to CNN. That gave the staff a chance to let their rockhopper penguins run wild and free, allowing them to roam through the premises, waddle over to the information desk, and say "hello" to the other animals that the aquarium is home to.
Meet Wellington, the penguin below, who got a chance to be on the other side of the glass and made full use of it.
Penguins in the Amazon?! 🐧🌴— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 15, 2020
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
Even Edward and Annie went out on their own adventures through Shedd Aquarium.
The adventure continues! 🐧🐧— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 16, 2020
This morning, Edward and Annie explored Shedd’s rotunda. They are a bonded pair of rockhopper penguins, which means they are together for nesting season. Springtime is nesting season for penguins at Shedd, and this year is no different! (1/3) 👇 pic.twitter.com/VdxN3oQAfe
The aquarium also added that Edward and Annie had some fun plans of their own that will probably have them self-quarantined for different reasons.
Penguins like Edward and Annie will begin to build their nests next week. Join us digitally for nesting coverage! In the meantime, we will be sharing lots of different animal updates (and yes, Wellington will return!) 🐧👀 (2/3) pic.twitter.com/eCYKOwdOMz— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 16, 2020
Although most people were unprepared for the rampant spread of the virus, the staff at the aquarium are doing their best to ensure that each animal is well taken care of through this time.
While this may be a strange time for us, these days feel normal for animals at Shedd. Our caregivers are constantly providing new experiences for the animals to explore and express their natural behaviors with. Let us know what penguin activities you would like to see! (3/3) pic.twitter.com/ftlow7iPHl— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 16, 2020
Talking about their innovative ways to keep their animals busy, the aquarium told the Chicago Tribune, as quoted by USA Today, "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 behaviors.
Oregon Zoo took the baby elephant around the zoo to visit the other animals. pic.twitter.com/c0zEMD6nyG— Chris Hawks (@CHawksRun) March 16, 2020
The furry friends at the Shedd Aquarium weren't the only ones having some fun. The video of a Patagonian mara named Hector also showed the animal making some interesting exchanges with his fellow zoo-mates at the Fort Worth Zoo, Benji, Hudson, and Makita.
Hector took a walk today and with new sights and smells, it was a very enriching experience! Otters Benji, Hudson and Makita appeared to be curious about their new visitor. It was enriching for them, too! Hector made a few stops through the Zoo and we’ll share those this week. pic.twitter.com/c16Wu9hhBK— Fort Worth Zoo (@FortWorthZoo) March 16, 2020
For everyone missing the feeling of laying eyes on animals and sea creatures during this time when everyone is expected to socially distance themselves, there is good news. There are zoos that are live streaming footage of some of their animals and it will only be a screen that separates you from them.
Fiona the hippo, from Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, also became an internet sensation as the zoo live-streamed videos of her from her habitat. Fiona was the first of their series as the zoo wrote on Facebook, "Join us for a Home Safari Facebook Live each weekday at 3pm EDT where we will highlight one of our amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home."
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also bringing you spectacular sights from their aquariums while you remain in the comforts of your pajamas. This way, you and your couch don't have to be separated, but you can still get your daily dose of fun from the animal kingdom.
Though @MontereyAq is closed, our webcams are still streaming. Until we reopen, you can check in on the sea otters, sway with the kelp forest, find tranquility with the jellies and look for wildlife out on Monterey Bay: https://t.co/51aaLE8flr pic.twitter.com/kK9VNj4z31— Julie Packard (@juliepackard) March 14, 2020
With all these wonderful zoos and aquariums enriching our lives with beautiful images, this self-quarantine thing might not be so bad after all.