Posts Tagged '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!

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.

Animal Update – January 25

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

Habitat Adjustment for Lobsters, Toby and Larry!

Last year, our Washington, DC venue welcomed two rare, brightly-colored lobsters into their collection. Toby, a blue lobster found off the Maryland coast, resides in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuaries exhibit.

Like most of his species, Toby likes to spend his time nestled under rock formations. In the wild, this behavior helps protect the lobster from possible predators.

Toby

This week, staff dove in this exhibit to create similar “habitat spots” for our second lobster, Larry, a bright orange lobster donated to the Aquarium by a local market. Lobsters can be quite territorial, so to prevent any aggression between our two, we’ve provided them each their own space within the habitat! Visitors will be able to see Larry on exhibit in the next few weeks!

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


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