Penguins turn into picky eaters as Japan faces inflation
With Japan facing cost-push inflation, a strange phenomenon has occurred in the Hakone-en Aquarium, located in the country's Kanagawa prefecture. According to aquarium authorities, the penguins there have become fussy about their meals and are refusing to eat cheaper fish that have been introduced amid record inflation. The authorities had replaced the expensive Japanese horse mackerel with saba, a cheaper mackerel.
This new replacement was introduced to fight against the rising cost of running an aquarium amid inflation. Hiroki Shimamoto, the aquarium head, said, "They take it into their mouths at first, but then they decide they don't like it and drop it." "I'm not sure if the animals can taste a significant difference, but you can tell they're not used to it," he added.
Shimamoto said that general inflation led to the rising cost of the horse mackerel, and the cost of running the aquarium has increased by around 20% since the beginning of 2022. This led the aquarium authorities to make some cost-cutting decisions, like less lighting and modifying the animals' meals. They started supplementing the meals of penguins and otters with the cheaper mackerel in May.
"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," Shimamoto said. "We do not plan on raising admission prices," he added. "All of the animals at the aquarium are family...we do our best to keep them healthy," the authorities said.
Videos of some penguins and otters refusing to eat the cheaper fish have gone viral. A hapless aquarium employee can be seen trying to feed the cheaper mackerel to the penguins only to get rejected. "Facing soaring inflation, a Japanese zoo has resorted to offering cheaper fish to its sea animals. The penguins are...unimpressed, refusing to even look at them," a Twitter user wrote.
Another Twitter user wrote, "Did they expect the penguins to understand inflation?" "Good for them. They didn't ask to be there. They should at least be fed what they want," another Twitterati wrote.
Good for them. They didn’t ask to be there. They should at least be fed what they want.— Birdie🐦💨 (@BirdieToots) July 7, 2022