Minor modifications had to be made for animals accustomed to human activity, including a video screen that was installed for the aquarium’s day octopus to serve as a kind of enrichment in the absence of the public. Other animals have received new toys, said Nate Jaros, curator of fish and invertebrates at the aquarium.
The Aquarium of the Pacific has even welcomed new family members, including a green sea turtle (now in the new Coral Reef exhibit), a red-footed booby and a “sexy shrimp”, named after its dance moves. . .
The introduction of the new animals is largely due to the aquarium’s rescue and rehabilitation programs. The Madman, for example, was determined to be unreliable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium before being moved to his new home at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Animals can be considered non-releasable for a variety of reasons, such as injury that limits their ability to feed or live in the wild, or if the animal has stranded at such a young age that it does not. has not developed the skills to thrive in the wild.
Most of the sea otters in the aquarium were orphaned as puppies, according to Brett Long, the curator of birds and mammals at the Aquarium of the Pacific. After being deemed non-releasable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, they were brought to Long Beach for a long-term home.
In March 2020, the aquarium partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium and SeaWorld San Diego, where adult female sea otters act as surrogates for the puppies, typically for nine to 11 months, hopefully teaching them the skills to be reintroduced into the wild.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been involved in the effort for 20 years, Long said.
“What they found was that if they let female sea otters teach skills (to puppies), they were more likely to be successful in the wild and then reach reproductive age and produce more otters, âLong said.
However, Monterey Bay only had capacity for about four baby sea otters per year, while an average of 12 to 15 stranded babies are found along the central California coast each year.
Long hopes that the Aquarium of the Pacific will have the capacity to accommodate or replace up to 12 sea otters per year.
âThe pandemic has happened and it has slowed this process down a bit, but we have always made progress in creating and building the infrastructure that will allow us to participate,â said Long, who hopes the project will be completed. ‘by the next four to six months.
Not only does the aquarium work to provide lifesaving services, it is also involved in many conservation efforts.
Conservation is an “obligation,” according to Long, who said the Aquarium of the Pacific is at the forefront of this work.
White abalone, the first invertebrate to be listed under the Endangered Species Act, is reared in the aquarium, and the also critically endangered giant sea bass is also studied and monitored by the aquarium.
Rescue and conservation programs extend to sea turtles, which end up in the aquarium for a variety of reasons, sometimes requiring medical attention as a result of injuries from fishing gear, or other times they just need to warm up some cold California water, says Jaros.
While the Aquarium of the Pacific emphasizes the importance of conserving and rehabilitating animals, Jaros said efforts can be made at home as well.
âA lot of people think that a person can’t really make a difference, but we can make a difference,â Jaros said, urging efforts such as measuring their own carbon footprint.
He recommended using purchasing power to choose sustainable seafood, sunscreens safe for reefs and oceans, avoiding single-use plastics and, of course, supporting eco-tourism by visiting or volunteering at the Aquarium of the Pacific.