Inflation is getting fishy and penguins aren’t taking it lying down.
A viral video from a Japanese news network shows penguins at the Hakone-en Aquarium refusing to eat a cheaper fish than what is normally given.
“They take it into their mouths at first, but then they decide they don’t like it and drop it,” aquarium head Hiroki Shimamoto said, according to Yahoo! News. “They sense something is off.”
As part of the aquarium’s belt-tightening measures, the penguins are being fed a mackerel called saba instead of the more expensive aji.
Although the saba is larger, it is no match for the picky penguins.
Shimamoto could tell the birds weren’t pleased, but claimed that the new fish was slowly but surely being eaten.
“Ideally, they would like to have a full aji, but they are patiently eating mackerel,” he said.
He also said that in addition to cheaper food for the animals, the aquarium is also cutting costs by shutting down certain pieces of equipment. They hope this is enough to avoid raising their admission fee.
Inflation in Japan has increased by 2.1% from May 2021 to 2022, which is enough to affect the aquarium’s budget, Fortune reported.
This is in addition to Japan also dealing with a weakened currency as the yen hits a 24-year low against the US dollar. This partially stems from the Bank of Japan having extremely low interest rates despite other countries’ banks raising theirs.
However, the penguins may eventually get their way.
“All of the animals at the aquarium are family and we do our best to keep them healthy,” said Shimamoto. “We would never force any animal to eat what they don’t want.”