Posts Tagged 'national aquarium washington dc'

Animal Updates – November 15

national aquarium animal update

New Wolf Eel in Kelp Forest

A second wolf eel, former resident of our DC venue, has been introduced into our Kelp Forest exhibit!

national aquarium wolf eel

Did you know? The wolf eel is not a true eel, but part of the Anarhichadidae family of “wolf fishes.” This fish likes to live in rocky areas and is able to squeeze into small crevices due to its long, slender body.

national aquarium wolf eel

Wolf eels are attentive parents. Both males and females will wrap their bodies around the egg mass to keep it in place and protect it from predators. Only one wolf eel will leave the eggs to hunt at a time. A pair of wolf eels may remain together and mate for life.

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

Join Us in Welcoming Brownie, our Loggerhead Turtle, to Baltimore!

Earlier today, our Baltimore facility welcomed loggerhead turtle, Brownie, from Washington, DC! Brownie’s transport, in addition to the 17 other animals that successfully made their way to our Animal Care Center, marked the 12th day of animal moves from our DC facility to the Aquarium’s main campus in Baltimore.

loggerhead turtle transport national aquarium

After transport and a brief observation period, Brownie was introduced into our Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit!

About Brownie: 

Named for it’s sweet personality and love of food, Brownie is part of the Loggerhead Head Start Program. Run by the North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll, this program gives baby sea turtles a better chance at survival in the wild. Sea turtle hatchlings spend time in aquariums where they can safely grow. After being given a clean bill of health and an extra boost of nutrition, they are tagged and released back to the ocean!

Once Brownie meets the proper weight/size criteria, it will be taken back to North Carolina to be released.

Animal Updates – October 18

national aquarium animal update

Animal transports from our DC facility, which closed to the public on September 30th, to Baltimore have been continuing steadily over the last week. Thus far, close to 400 animals have successfully made their way to Baltimore (either to the Aquarium building, or our off-site Animal Care Center).

This week, an electric eel and alligator gar were among the animals transported to our ACC. As you can imagine, there are many precautions to consider when moving an animal that can produce up to 600 volts of electricity!

national aquarium electric eel

Our electric eel in DC is actually trained to swim into a net (a helpful behavior when it comes to medical exams and exhibit repair) – this step made the process of his transport seamless for our team!

To move our alligator gar, a prehistoric-looking “megafish,” our staff actually had to use a mesh stretcher to move our gar from his habitat enclosure to his transport carrier.

We’re happy to report that after a quick trip to Baltimore, these animals are acclimating well to their new homes!

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

DC Update: Animal Transports to National Aquarium, Baltimore

national aquarium animal expert update

The most common question we get about the closure of the National Aquarium, Washington, D.C. is “Where are all of the animals going?”.

Of the 2,500 animals that currently call our DC facility home, 1,700 will be transported to our Baltimore facility. The rest will be transported to other accredited aquariums and zoos.

The key to any successful animal move is exceptional planning and great communication between all team members. In fact, we started planning these moves as soon as the closure was announced. Everyone has a role in a big move like this, from husbandry staff to veterinarians.

Today marked the first of our transport trips, which included the move of 38 animals including a giant Pacific octopus, seven plumose anemones, a peacock wolf eel, rockfish and much more! However, on any given day in the next two months, we may be transporting 20 to 400 animals.

Every animal that moves out of the D.C. facility will receive a veterinary exam to confirm it is healthy enough for transport. In some cases, this might be a visual examination (looking at the animal in its habitat). Most fish and invertebrates get visual exams. In other cases, such as for sharks or reptiles, we may do a complete “hands-on” physical examination including evaluating radiographs (x-rays) and blood tests.

But how do you actually move fish? First, the keepers slowly coax the animals into transport nets and then quickly move them into their transport carriers. Fish can be moved in large plastic containers or placed into individual bags, depending on their size and the number of individual fish moving that day. Water from their exhibits is used to fill their transport carriers. During transport, staff monitors temperature and dissolved oxygen levels to ensure the parameters stay where we want them.

Animals coming to Baltimore will make a stop at our Animal Care Center (ACC) before being placed on exhibit. Here they will go through at least a two week observational period to ensure they remain healthy and are eating well. If we have health concerns about an animal post-move, it’s very easy to provide medical care at the ACC. Because the transport is so short and the animals are already acclimated to human care, we expect them to do well at the Animal Care Center and quickly move into our main facility!

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to transition our DC facility! 

Blog-Header-LeighClayton

Update From the CEO: Our Future in Washington, DC

update from the CEO - national aquarium

As a friend or follower of the National Aquarium, you probably know about the nation’s original aquarium, located since 1932 in the U.S. Department of Commerce headquarters in Washington, DC.

National Aquarium, Washington, DC

When the building (now called the Herbert C. Hoover Building) opened, one of its unique features was that it housed the fledgling National Aquarium, which had been operated in one form or another by the Fisheries Service since 1873. In its 140 years of existence, the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, has had a long and illustrious history.

Yet, due to major renovations to the Commerce building, the Aquarium must vacate its current space and close on September 30. When that wing of the Commerce building reopens in two years, the space will be taken up by a new pedestrian mall to provide better access to the Ronald Reagan building across 14th Street, NW. Although our Aquarium will welcome its last guest next week, its legacy and role in the capital are far from over. More on that in a minute.

The process of closing an aquarium is neither easy nor quick. It began months ago, with a careful assessment of every animal and plant in the facility. Staff then developed detailed plans for transferring 1,700 of the 2,500 animals to our Animal Care Center in Baltimore; homes were found for the remaining 800 animals at other accredited institutions.

Over the next six weeks, our Animal Care staff will be concentrating on transporting these animals safely and securely to their new homes, where all will continue to educate and inspire the public. National Aquarium, Washington, DC, staff members have been offered positions at our aquarium in Baltimore or at other facilities, while others will be given support for finding new work. Pumps, filters, acrylic windows, holding tanks and a host of other equipment must be inventoried, disassembled and reused or recycled. In total, it will take at least three months to demobilize a facility that has been hosting visitors for 81 years.

It is for that reason that we are unequivocally committed to a National Aquarium presence in the nation’s capital. The closing of our historic, but aging, facility opens new doors even as old ones close. We have recently embarked on a strategic plan process, called BLUEprint, to identify feasibility and potential uses for a new facility in the capital. Over the next six months, our team will work with expert planners and designers from Studio Gang Architects and IMPACTS Research & Development to establish exactly what form any future endeavors should take. Knowing the talents that this team brings to bear, I am confident that our future in the capital will do justice to the legacy of the nation’s longest continuously operating aquarium.

So many individuals and organizations have supported the National Aquarium, Washington, DC: a passionate Board of Directors, the District of Columbia government, our dedicated partners in both the public and private sectors, visiting teachers and students and a terrifically committed staff—each has helped to shape this next stage in the National Aquarium’s long journey. I offer my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of them.

I look forward to sharing our future plans with you as they take shape. Visit aqua.org/dc for the latest news and information about the big move, new plans and next steps. As always, thank you for your interest, support and connection.

National Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Nick Little

We’re joining zoos and aquariums from across the county in the celebration of National Zookeeper Appreciation Week

Our team of National Aquarium animal experts, including aquarists, herpetologists, aviculturists, curators, veterinarians and marine mammal trainers, have dedicated themselves to providing our  living collection of more than 17,500 animals the highest possible quality of care.

In addition to providing care and enrichment for the animals, our staff members are consistently involved in research projects as well as conservation and outreach work. We are incredibly proud of the collective impact they’ve made on the lives of our guests and our local community!

This week, we’ll be introducing you to just a few of our amazing animal care staff members! They’ll be sharing favorite aquarium memories, how they got started in their respective fields and more!

July 23, 2013: Meet one of our Aquarists, Nick Little!

nick little

How long have you been at the Aquarium?

I’ve been working at National Aquarium, Washington, DC for 4.5 years in the native, freshwater gallery!

What interested you to pursue your current career path?

Like many others in the industry, I have been surrounded by animals my entire life. My father and I kept and maintained a collection of 40 habitats, which housed various species including: African, South, and Central American cichlids, tetras, soft and hard corals, reptiles, and amphibians. Over the years, we were quite successful at breeding and rearing many species. My fate with animals was sealed long before I ever thought about having to find a job. My desire to learn about these animals, their natural environments, natural history, and preservation/conservation could not be quenched. My fathers’ shared interest in the hobby was certainly the catalyst that began my fascination.

Can you briefly describe for us what your typical day looks like?

I am responsible for the care, maintenance, and well-being of nearly 30 freshwater systems. My fish naturally occur in heavily planted cypress swamps, streams, ponds, lakes and rivers. Knowing the requirements of each species can be challenging, especially when trying to create micro-habitats within a confined space. Most fish are fed on a daily basis and are monitored for any signs of  injury or ailment. From time to time, I am lucky enough to see fish spawning and will attempt to rear the young.

Favorite Aquarium memory?

Working with native fish affords me the luxury to travel across the eastern U.S. in search of the fish used to stock my exhibits. Going on 2,000—3,000 mile road trips with coworkers certainly has its share of memories and laughs for that matter. I spent a long week in the Bahamas, capturing lionfish (photo above) for a Fresh Thoughts dinner back in 2011. That was an incredible experience!

Next big project you’re working on?

Helping to transition the animals in our DC location to their new homes.

Favorite animal?

There have been plenty of great animals that have been in my care since I started back in early 2009. But by far, my favorite group of fish are darters. More specifically, the Redline darter (which I even have a tattoo of!). These mountainous, stream inhabitants brave the currents to feed on benthic invertebrates. They forage throughout the day, ‘darting’ from rock to rock—which is how they get their name. Aside from their outgoing personalities, male darters are among some of the most stunning and colorful fish in the U.S … if not the world, in my opinion!

Stay tuned to the blog this week to meet more of our amazing staff!

Animal Updates – May 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!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Sea Raven

We have a sea raven in our Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuaries exhibit!

sea raven

Sea ravens, Hemitripterus americanus, are a species of sculpin, from the Scorpaenidae family. They are bottom-dwelling fishes that feed on small invertebrates, and are found in the northwest Atlantic and north Pacific oceans. They have a wide range of amazing colors including deep red, dark brown, purple and  various shades of yellow.

This ambush predator has fleshy protrusions extending from their large head that help disguise it against rocky bottoms. Their prickly skin (covered in small spines) and ragged looking dorsal fin come together to make this one bizarre, yet awesome looking fish.

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


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