The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo is pleading with the public to video-chat their garden eels starting on Sunday, because they are forgetting that humans exist.
"Could you show your face to our garden eels from your home?"
Yes, they're asking people to call in for a sub-aqua video chat and remind the eels that humans are friendly.
"Creatures in the aquarium don't see humans except keepers and they have started forgetting about humans," the aquarium wrote on Twitter.
"Garden eels in particular disappear into the sand and hide every time the keepers pass by."
The eels are particularly sensitive – and the aquarium is keen to reacquaint the 300 eels it homes with humans so they can carry out important health checks on them.
From May 3 to 5, you can use your iPhone or iPad (no Androids or PCs) to FaceTime these sensitive creatures. The aquarium will have five tablets pointed at the eels and ask that you (Google-translated from Japanese):
1) Open the app from the iPhone or iPad, please take a video call by entering the following one of the gmail address to the destination…
2) After the beginning of the tablet terminal and a video call that was placed before the aquarium, to the spotted garden eel Shake or call while showing your face. Please refrain cry loudly ※.
3) terminal to be installed is five. When you can see your face for about 5 minutes, hang up the call for the next person. The "Facetime": is a video call app, which is standard on Apple products.
Again, please refrain from crying loudly — even if they're tears of joy!
A look at the aquarium's eel population in 2012:
screengrab via Sumida Aquarium/YouTube