Posts Tagged 'wings in the water'

Animal Update – August 31

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

We’re experiencing quite the baby boom! 

As we first announced earlier this week, a new spiny-tailed monitor was born in the backup area of our Animal Plant Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit. But this is just one of many new family additions…

Spiny-tailed monitor hatchling

We also have turquoise tanager chicks flying around our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. Our tanager flock continues to grow! We first announced the arrival of two chicks last month and we are so excited to have more of these adorable babies. You can see the majority of our family of tanagers flying around our Rain Forest now!

Turquoise tanager chick

And don’t forget our new baby screaming piha chick! Also born in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest, this baby is the first to be born in captivity in North America.

Blacktip Reef animals are on the move! 

Blacktip Reef renovations are coming soon and we’ve already started preparations with animal moves. Some of the animals you’re used to seeing in our Wings in the Water exhibit have been moved to their new homes within the Aquarium: Two large roughtail rays are now in Open Ocean exhibit and a cownose ray, two southern rays and a hogfish have all been moved to our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit. Additionally, over the last two weeks, our staff has worked closely with Georgia Aquarium staff to transport roughtail rays, cownose rays and barracudas to their new home at the Georgia Aquarium.

National Aquarium divers helps to collect animals from Wings in the Water
Photo courtesy of John Soule

Staff and volunteers safely moving a cownose ray from the Wings in the Water exhibit
Photo courtesy of John Soule

We still have a few more animals to move. Next Monday, we’ll be moving our zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe as well as our green sea turtle Calypso to our off-site Animal Care Center, where they will stay until they join their new friends in Blacktip Reef next summer!

Watch this video to learn more about the new animals that will be coming to Blacktip Reef!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – August 3

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Bonnethead Sharks in New Home

Our two bonnethead sharks have moved from Wings in the Water to their new home in our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit.

This move is due to preparations for our new exhibit, Blacktip Reef, opening in summer 2013. The new exhibit will be a vibrant new habitat replicating a salt-water Indo-Pacific ocean habitat featuring new animals including blacktip reef sharks, reticulated whiptail rays, and ornate wobbegong sharks! Click here to find out more about Blacktip Reef.

Golden Lion Tamarins

Our golden lion tamarin monkeys have been taken off exhibit for the time being as a precautionary measure due to nesting birds in the exhibit. Don’t worry, they’ll be back!

We have so many amazing animals in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit — it’s a great time to see some of them during your visit. Click here to learn more about some of the animals!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Wounded Warriors dive in the Aquarium

This summer, the National Aquarium welcomed some very special guests for a very special evening. Nine wounded soldiers from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center were able to live a dream and scuba dive in the Aquarium as part of their rehabilitation programs.

Wounded Warriors Dive

These veterans, who participate in a program called Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS), were taught the basics of Aquarium diving and safety procedures before plunging into the world of sting rays, sharks, and more than 50 species of fish. Each diver was accompanied in the water by dive professionals from the Aquarium.

Wounded Warriors Dive

The animals responded exceptionally well and greeted all of them. Calypso, our green sea turtle who also happens to be an amputee, was very curious and interactive. One of the double-amputee veterans was in the Wings in the Water exhibit and Calypso came over to look at his prosthetic legs and then just sat down in his lap. She was a huge hit with all of the veterans, and everyone had a great time!

Wounded Warriors Dive

The National Aquarium is honored to have worked with these heroes, and we look forward to doing this again soon!

Cranes, beams and things

Something “big” is happening!

This morning we began the construction of a 4-ton steel platform…at the bottom of our 16,500-gallon Wings in the Water exhibit.

This is not your typical construction job. This project requires a group of Aquarium divers and commercial divers to install very large stainless steel I-beams at the bottom of an exhibit, while underwater! For the next six to seven days, at least six divers at a time will be in the water 24 hours a day.

The main I-beam was brought into the Aquarium early this morning, lifted into the building with the help of a crane. It is 22 feet long, 14 inches wide, 32 inches tall, and weighs 2,000 pounds!

When finished, the structure will weigh 10,000 pounds. It’s a big job, but just a small part of how we care for our animals and our exhibits. More than 40 animals live in this exhibit alone, including a variety of stingrays, sharks and a green sea turtle.

Click here to see more photos of the I-beam installation, and stay tuned for more updates from our underwater construction team!

You can help us keep our exhibits up to date! Text “RESTORE” to 20222 to donate $5 toward this and other Aquarium restoration projects. With you, we make a difference.

Special delivery: stingray pups born!

A diver collects a baby stingray in the Aquarium\'s exhibit.Southern stingray pups are born in the Wings in the Water exhibit on a regular basis. Our divers quickly catch the newborns and move them to a behind-the- scenes area so they don’t end up as food for the larger rays. These juveniles are shipped to other accredited institutions around the country. 

Southern stingrays have a gestation period of about six months. The eggs hatch within the mother’s body, and the pups, up to ten in a litter, average 9.5 inches across at birth and their “wings” are curled up – like crepes.


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