The picky penguins and obnoxious otters at a Japanese aquarium are dealing with the effects of inflation, refusing the new bargains their keepers are now offering after soaring prices.
As part of a belt-tightening effort, Hakone-en Aquarium in the Kanagawa region of central Japan has ditched some of its traditional, more expensive horse mackerel in favor of cheaper mackerel.
But the menu change has not been received with universal approval, with some penguins resolutely turning their beaks when mackerel is offered.
“They first take it in their mouth, but then they decide they don’t like it and drop it,” aquarium director Hiroki Shimamoto told AFP.
He speculates that the hard-nosed penguins may have taken issue with the size of their new meals, which are larger than their standard fare.
“They sense something is wrong,” he said.
The problem is even more acute among the otters in the aquarium, which consistently rejected the cheapest fish, Shimamoto added.
The facility said it made the switch after horse mackerel prices soared around 20-30% from a year ago, in part due to low catches.
The aquarium is still buying horse mackerel for its feed, but has no plans to fully back out until prices come down, Shimamoto said.
“It all depends on when things get back to normal.”
Read more: Saved by a local, a group of endangered green sea turtles join Sharjah Aquarium