Penguins go on ‘field trip’ after U.S. aquarium shuts down during coronavirus pandemic

Penguins at a Chicago aquarium are passing the time during the COVID-19 pandemic by visiting their other animal friends.

Typically, the Shedd Aquarium’s penguins are the ones being peered at through the class by visitors and tourists, but since the aquarium got shut down to the public to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, the black-and-white animals are taking a turn on the other side.

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The aquarium took to Twitter with an adorable video of one of its penguins named Wellington.

“Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd,” it wrote on Twitter. “Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising!”

Typically, seeing visitors walk by their homes offers a lot of stimulation for the animals. Now, caretakers have to find other ways to keep them stimulated.

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“Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals,” Shedd explained to the Chicago Tribune. “Introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviours.”

This penguin field trip has spread smiles around the internet, especially at a time of self-isolation and quarantine as coronavirus cases continue to climb globally.

“Please let the octopuses go on an adventure next,” one Twitter user wrote.

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Another commented: “We need our smiles wherever we can get them. Please give Wellington some extra fish for bringing happiness to many people.”

“Maybe the most enjoyable tweet I’ve ever seen,” a Twitter user wrote, while another chimed in: “The content we need. Thank you!”

The aquarium is set to be closed until March 29, CNN reports, and is just one of the many attractions that have shuttered around the world to combat the virus.

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On Sunday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered all restaurants and bars in the state to close until March 30.

In Canada, Starbucks has announced it will be closing some stores and GoodLife Fitness has closed all of its locations Canada-wide.

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The new coronavirus was first identified in Hubei province, China, in December 2019 and spread rapidly. While the outbreak has begun to level off in China, it seems the virus has found a foothold in a number of countries around the world, and it continues to spread.

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Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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