You’ve probably seen the adorable video of the Chicago-based Shedd Aquarium penguins going for a leisurely stroll around the aquarium’s many exhibits.
After the Shedd Aquarium closed its doors in Chicago on March 13 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a video of rockhopper penguin Wellington spread like wildfire across social media. Thanks for a report from Polygon, we now know this is a regular occurrence for the penguins as part of the their standard exercise and enrichment program.
“They are familiar with many places within the Shedd Aquarium,” Shedd’s Senior Director of Animal Behavior and Training Steve Aibel explained. “The only thing that is new is that they have the whole aquarium to themselves without guests.”
According to Aibel, the penguins naturally show curiosity about new things, and their minders help by mixing up the places they visit.
Penguins aren’t the only ones that get to go on adventures around the aquarium. Aibel said sea lions play soccer and macaws get to fly around the entire campus. Don’t worry, though. Aibel said each animal is closely monitored to guarantee their safety while exploring.
Though letting animals run are may seem like a bad idea, their keepers aren’t worried about any escape attempts. In fact, Aibel said that when penguins find themselves in new situations, their first instinct is to run back to their caretakers, rather than flee the aquarium.
If you you by chance haven’t caught the video of the penguins in action, you can check it out below.
The adventure continues!
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
— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 16, 2020
The Shedd Aquarium is worth a Twitter follow if you’re interested in seeing more animal adventures as the social team puts up videos and pictures of the aquarium’s many residents every day. You can follow them here. Here are some ways you can help others and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.