You've all seen it: thoughtless people throwing popcorn and junk food to zoo animals regardless of how many "Do Not Feed The Animals!" signs are posted in plain sight. The critters eat what's tossed their way because they don't know any better; the idiot humans SHOULD know better but , well, they're idiots. The result is sick animals living in littered enclosures.
The Tobe Zoo in Japan's Ehime prefecture has hit on an ingenious solution that solves a number of feeding-related issues... a fish vending machine set up outside the seal enclosure!
For 100 yen (about $1.05), you get a couple of dead fish on a tray. You wouldn't want to eat 'em but that's fine, stick to your sugary snacks. Take the fish to the fence surrounding the seal enclosure and dangle away... the seals will quickly notice and will jump up to take them from your outstretched hand! Check out the video posted at Japan Probe in which an intrepid Japanese news reporter conducts feeding time, complete with slow motion replays of the leaping seals.
Now this is all well and good, but we wonder if the concept has been thought all the way through. Seals, even those kept in captivity, are wild animals whose mouths are bristling with sharp teeth. Grasp the fish improperly (and there don't appear to be any instructions) and you'll be feeding the seal a lot more than a one-buck mackerel. Commence lawsuit in 3... 2... 1...
Until then, we'll be keeping an eye on the Tobe Zoo in case they extend the seal snack vending machine concept to other areas of the zoo... like a raw meat vending machine outside the tiger cage. Heeere, kitty! (via Japan Probe)
SEE ALSO: A Rainbow of Bettas: Photos of Spectacular Siamese Fighting Fish