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Penguin cams go viral as aquariums and zoos turn to livestreams

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/ Source: TODAY

Have you ever wondered what the penguins at your favorite aquarium do when nobody else is around?

With their doors closed temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak, aquariums and zoos across the country are getting creative and providing entertainment in a digital way through livestreams and daily updates on their social media pages.

Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has been taking advantage of the empty halls and is allowing some unusual guests to wander around the different exhibits. The staff has been sharing daily content on its Instagram and Twitter pages all week during the shutdown, including videos of a few of their penguins taking their first stroll through the aquatic museum.

“Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd,” staffers explained in an Instagram caption. “Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising! Other animals like the black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitors.”

Wellington, a 32-year-old Rockhopper penguin, made a repeat appearance later in the week while checking out the sea otter habitat on his next excursion.

Wellington wasn’t the only penguin lucky enough to have his own private tour. Edward and Annie, a bonded pair of Rockhopper penguins, had a date night checking out some of the different exhibits during their nesting season.

The Shedd Aquarium joins other institutions across the U.S. that are choosing to engage with the public digitally while guests remain unable to visit exhibits in person.

The Aquarium of the Pacific has live webcams set up for many of its exhibits, providing plenty of educational and entertaining options for everyone. The aquarium in Long Beach, California offers penguin cams both above and below water, a look into their shark lagoon, as well as a peek into their tropical reef habitat.

“Our social media team is also doing live videos on our Facebook and Instagram feeds,” Claire Atkinson, the senior manager of communications at the aquarium told TODAY. “The Aquarium is developing additional online content, including fun and educational live and on-demand videos and activities that will launch next week.”

Monterey Bay Aquarium has set times for their livestreams so if you want to take a peek at their sea otter stream, it’s available between 10 a.m and 10 p.m. PST while their penguin cams are available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST.

“We put some of the young, rescued sea otters we’re raising for release into our Sea Otter Exhibit (since we’re closed and they won’t get habituated to the presence of people),” Jessica Keener, the media relations associate at Monterey Bay Aquarium said. “They get practice diving in a deeper, more complex environment–which increases their chances of doing well once we return them to the wild.”

Even the Kansas City Zoo is getting in on the digital fun. The zoo is sharing content on their social media pages, including live content from their giraffe barn alongside their penguin livestreams on their YouTube channel.

“We have always had our penguin live stream but when we closed we wanted to make sure everyone was aware of how to watch it in the hopes of bringing a smile to the faces of many in this trying time,” Sarah Gay, the marketing and communications manager for Kansas City Zoo said.

Whether you’re curious to see how the penguins and giraffes are doing or simply want to learn something new, aquariums and zoos across the country are offering digital options for everyone to enjoy their animals and exhibits while their doors are shut.