Zoos and aquariums stream footage during closures
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Zoos and aquariums stream footage during closures

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A view of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, which has been streaming footage of their penguins.

A view of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, which has been streaming footage of their penguins. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

As the COVID-19 virus causes people around the world to stay at home and self-quarantine, popular tourist attractions are being forced to temporarily shut down. However, several zoos and aquariums across the United States are encouraging people to welcome their beloved exotic animals into their homes through online streaming.

Zoos and aquariums broadcasting webcam footage of their housed animals is nothing new; a quick online search will bring up dozens of webcam feeds from various establishments. However, the worldwide quarantines are prompting certain locations to get creative in order to lift the spirits of the masses.

For example, Chicago's Shedd Aquarium has recently allowed three rockhopper penguins, named Wellington, Edward and Annie, to roam the facility while employees documented their exploration.

"We want these guys to be out and around ... comfortable in their homes," said Steve Aibel, the senior director of animal behavior and training.

According to Aibel, these penguin field trips are not uncommon at the aquarium. However, the nationwide quarantine has given the animals much more time to explore, and the caretakers more space to capture these trips on film.

Meanwhile, over at the Cincinnati Zoo, a series of "Home Safari" live streams are being shown every weekday. The series kicked off on March 16 with Fiona, the zoo's world-famous 3-year-old Nile hippo. Fiona herself became an online celebrity when she survived all odds after being born premature and underweight.

"Let us help make your children's hiatus from school fun and educational," said a statement on the zoo's Facebook page. "Join us for a Home Safari Facebook Live each weekday at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) where we will highlight one of our amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home."

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(TravelPulse is a leading travel authority on the web, providing consumer travel news and insider tips and advice for an ever-changing travel world. Read more stories at travelpulse.com)

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