Penguins unimpressed with Japanese aquarium’s shift to cheaper fish

A Japanese aquarium said it is trying to switch its penguins’ diet to a cheaper kind of fish as a result of inflation, but the birds are being uncooperative.

Officials at the Hakone-en Aquarium, southwest of Tokyo, said they switched the penguins from their usual diet of aji, aka Japanese horse mackerel, to a cheaper variety of mackerel after the price of aji spiked nearly 30 percent over last year.

A video filmed at the aquarium shows the penguins stubbornly refusing to accept offerings of the cheaper fish from keepers.

“Even if they’ll take it in their beaks, they’ll just spit it out,” Hiroki Shimamoto, the head zookeeper at the aquarium, told VICE World News.

Aquarium workers said the penguins will begrudgingly eat the cheaper fish if it is mixed in with some aji.

“Ideally, they would like to have a full aji, but they are patiently eating mackerel,” Shimamoto told TV Asahi.

Keepers said the facility’s otters have also shown a preference for aji over the cheaper fish.

“We could raise the admission fee to the aquarium and fix this issue, but we would like to do our best to keep our facility a comfortable place for our guests to visit. We do not plan on raising admission prices,” Shimamoto said.