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Zoo director begs people to stop screwing with air conditioner, setting it to lowest temperature

27 Comments
By SoraNews24

Last year a giant python escaped from its owner and had a neighborhood in Yokohama on edge for about half a month. It wasn’t until Tsuyoshi Shirawa, the director of Shizuoka’s iZoo, used his keen sense of the reptile mind to quickly locate the animal in the ceiling above its owner’s apartment.

▼ Shirawa’s self-assured thumbs-up to media after finding the snake easily made him the coolest zookeeper in Japan.

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When he’s not out solving animal mysteries, Shirawa runs a unique kind of zoo in iZoo (pronounced “ee-zoo“). With a focus on reptiles and amphibians, iZoo is often described as an “experimental zoo” that lets guests get very up-close and personal with the animals.

This requires a very strong knowledge of the animals in order to gauge the risk posed both by and to reptiles such as alligators, venomous snakes, and chameleons. Shirawa’s guidance has helped iZoo pull this off for years without incident. But despite all his experience with cold-blooded creatures, there’s one animal that Shirawa has struggled with: humans.

On August 24, an exasperated Shirawa posted the following tweet:

“There have been repeated incidents of visitors taking the liberty of lowering the air conditioner of the iZoo exhibition hall to its minimum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius. We’ve tried countermeasures like patrols and warnings, but it hasn’t stopped. The air conditioner is for all living things, not just people. The normal temperature is 28 degrees Celsius . I know it’s hot, but please don’t touch the equipment.”

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The tweet went viral and generated a large number of replies. Many expressed their surprise that people would be so bold as to adjust the air conditioner of a private business. Others, however, felt that Shirawa and iZoo’s lax atmosphere shared some of the blame.

“The number of unbelievably irrational people seems to be increasing each year. If you can’t take the heat, don’t go to places where animals from hot climates live.”

“You can’t trust your guests so much, or one day you’ll be forced to stop making the zoo so open.”

“I’m sure some people actually think they are helping the cold-blooded animals by turning down the temperature.”

“28 degrees isn’t even that hot.”

“People always do unexpected things, but I think it’s the management’s responsibility to eliminate the chances of that as much as possible.”

“I also work at a breeding facility and the air conditioner is covered so even staff can’t mess with it. If there is a switch, there will always be someone to touch it.”

“Please provide images of how this air conditioner is set up and how guests can touch it.”

In response to the feedback, Shirawa posted a picture of the control panel, which is behind a closed door that is taped shut…or “was taped shut” rather, as someone had clearly peeled away the tape so they could change the temperature.

“I’m sorry about all the trouble with the air conditioner. We put tape to stop people from opening it, but they peeled it off to cool down. I understand that many people think iZoo is too lenient. I suppose you could say that, couldn’t you… This is seen as something you can touch.”

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Shirawa seemed to have taken a lot of the criticism to heart. Even more than a problem of people screwing around with a thermostat, iZoo functions on a certain level of faith in its visitors by allowing them to get very close to the animals. If guests can’t be trusted with a control panel, can they really be trusted with a Galapagos giant tortoise?

The following day, Shirawa once again tweeted a picture of the air conditioner control panel. However, this time it was secured by a padlock and a sign was posted informing everyone that the temperature is set to ensure the health of the animals and that lowering could make them sick.

“I put a lock and sign on the air conditioner that has been causing all this fuss. Breaking this is damage to equipment, so I hope no one tries to open it. Originally it was installed in view of a surveillance camera so everything is recorded. I didn’t want to go this far but I did it because the honor system doesn’t apply to equipment.”

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In a subsequent interview with J-Cast News, Shirawa explained the situation in more detail, explaining that it was an issue that’s been going on for years. This hotter than usual summer, however, had exacerbated the problem to the point that it’s been happening several times a day. Luckily, this has not had any adverse effects on the animals because staff have been quickly catching and fixing temperature changes in the facility.

It’s likely that same care and diligence by staff has allowed iZoo to continue operating in its own special way. Hopefully they can continue to do so too, because there’s nothing I’d like more than to feed a big old piece of lettuce to one of those huge tortoises someday.

Sources: Twitter/@shirawatsuyoshi, J-Cast News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- It’s so hot in Japan that people are cooking food in/on their cars【Photos】

-- Japanese summer is worse than summer in Death Valley, says our correspondent, a seasoned traveler

-- Japanese netizens shook by ancient air conditioner remote 【Photos】

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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Install a new thermostat that lights up but isn't connected to anything. Put lots of Don't Touch signs on it, and let them adjust away.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

“I also work at a breeding facility and the air conditioner is covered so even staff can’t mess with it. If there is a switch, there will always be someone to touch it.”

Yes! If you don't want people messing with something, lock it down or just block their access to it, plain and simple. This happened in my high school where a transfer student got a little to interested with a fire hose that can be accessed by anybody and started to open the valve, causing the hose to unravel and spray water everywhere. It had never happened before, but after that, glass was installed in the panel and a sign that says "break glass in case of emergency. this is not a toy."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Human proofing is the most daunting task for humans.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I’m surprised they actually turned the AC down.

usually there’s always some woman, or in Japan only, a man……that claims “I’m cold, I’m cold” despite the temperature being at 30+ degrees.

or does this only happen in my office?

15 ( +26 / -11 )

Guess he's never heard of a security box fitting? They go over things on the wall to prevent easy access.

Also, if would be funny to add a fake thermostat that takes a photo of the person if they press any button on it. That would be more of a fun project for a teen with $50 to get a raspberry pi zero-W and a pi-cam. Bet they'd go crazy and have lots of fun with a project like that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not into zoos, but at least it is for children than reading manga.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

And so Mr. Shirawa, got the PR and CM he needed for his zoo.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

28 degrees IS bloody hot!! Too hot to sit in comfortably........but not for reptiles. No way people should be playing with the thermostat at a zoo.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I’m surprised they actually turned the AC down.

usually there’s always some woman, or in Japan only, a man……that claims “I’m cold, I’m cold” despite the temperature being at 30+ degrees.

or does this only happen in my office?

Every single office........put the AC on....at 28 degrees...still sweating.....switch it down to 25 ( i like it at 22) and people grabbing their sweaters shouting "SAMUI!!" I had the school nurse come round turning the AC off 1 day where it "dipped" below 28 degrees outside, saying it was bad for our health to be "so cold"....so got told in no uncertain terms to leave the AC on near me...

1 ( +9 / -8 )

On edge for about half a month

His keen sense of the reptile mind to quickly locate the animal in the ceiling above its owners apartment

If his sense of the reptile mind is sooo keen and he's sooo quick then why on earth did it take half a month to locate the animal ?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Lets face the facts here -

If it takes a zoo keeper half a month to locate a potentially dangerous animal in the ceiling above where it escaped then its clear he's not qualified to be a zoo keeper due to his own incompetence and irresponsibility .

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

People need educate themselves more, rather than wasting time on k-drama or manga. It just baffles me to see how people are shallow by looking at the netflix top 10 in Japan.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Farmboy

Install a new thermostat that lights up but isn't connected to anything. Put lots of Don't Touch signs on it, and let them adjust away.

I think that would solve the problem nicely, and with some help of the placebo effect maybe the people would even feel cooler.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I feel the Japanese are getting far ruder by the year. A generalisation perhaps, but the level of self importance and selfishness needs keeping in check

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

I’m surprised they actually turned the AC down.

usually there’s always some woman, or in Japan only, a man……that claims “I’m cold, I’m cold” despite the temperature being at 30+ degrees.

or does this only happen in my office?

Every single office........put the AC on....at 28 degrees...still sweating.....switch it down to 25 ( i like it at 22) and people grabbing their sweaters shouting "SAMUI!!" I had the school nurse come round turning the AC off 1 day where it "dipped" below 28 degrees outside, saying it was bad for our health to be "so cold"....so got told in no uncertain terms to leave the AC on near me...

Yes in my office there is one person who keeps turning it up to 28 and ALOT of people are pissed off at this person.

I personally think the cooler the better-

I swear these people are like naked mole rats. I can't function in 28 degrees AC when its in the mid or high 30s outside

Madness

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

28 degrees IS bloody hot!! 

no its not, I have my ac set at 26 or 27. a fan to circulate the air around the room, it perfectly comfortable.

unless your a fat truck, or wearing a full business suit, jacket, its comfortable.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I'm kind of surprised it took the guy so long to think of putting a simple lock on it. I respect him for the hands-on zoo he has and wanting people to be able to get up close and touch the animals, but when it comes to their safety and health this should have been done quite some time ago.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

28 degrees IS bloody hot!! 

no its not, I have my ac set at 26 or 27. a fan to circulate the air around the room, it perfectly comfortable.

and you just contradicted yourself.

“I’m sure some people actually think they are helping the cold-blooded animals by turning down the temperature.”

I don't think it's people "think they are helping" it's more that they are so egocentric, that they refuse to believe there are other life forms they must cohabitate with on a daily basis.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Sheikh Yerboaby

28 degrees IS bloody hot!! Too hot to sit in comfortably.

At that temperature, as your compatriot Shawzyurf Ani would say, "staps aff".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese love their air con a little too much..

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

i would have put a toy snake inside the box.

So when opened it would pop out and a voice saying loudly "Keep your hands off my temperture setting"

If the temperature goes too low, reptiles digestion can slow down or stop.

Then what they are digesting could then rot and kill them.

Last year a giant python escaped from its owner and had a neighborhood in Yokohama on edge for about half a month. It wasn’t until Tsuyoshi Shirawa, the director of Shizuoka’s iZoo, used his keen sense of the reptile mind to quickly locate the animal in the ceiling above its owner’s apartment.

For those who say "why did it take him so long to find it"

It did not.

He was called in after time had passed and using his experience quickly worked out where it was most likely to be and caught it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

People are idiots.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Self serving, egotistical, entitled people interfering with private property and endangering the very creatures they are coming to see. Being Japanese I can understand why he thought a simple tape and notice would be enough, mayhap Japanese social norms are changing.

28 degrees is bloody hot, to me. If you are acclimatised to a high temperature it may not be. Living where I do anything over 70 (21) degrees and I was boiling in the office. The same goes for what a healthy temperature is for a creature.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Obviously noone had ever been into a reptile house before. Those things are always sweatboxes. Its part of the experience if not anything else. Regardless, animal welfare is at the very bottom of the list of priorities in Japan so no surprise at this at all.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Set it up so that anyone touching the panel gets a massive electric shock, good fun to watch back on the CCTV as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When I protested to my school manager that it was 29 degrees in the school (I had a thermometer to check for myself), I was greeted with titters from her and the other staff. My request fell on deaf ears. I keep hearing that Japan is a male-dominated society, though I've seen no evidence of it in 30 years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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