Vancouver Aquarium


Vancouver Aquarium

Infobox zoo
zoo_name=Vancouver Aquarium
date_opened=June 15, 1956 [http://www.vanaqua.org/pressroom/FastFacts.html Vancouver Aquarium - Online ] ]
logo=Newlogocolour.gif
logo_width=200px
location=Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN
area=2.1 acres (9,000 m²) [http://www.vanaqua.org/pressroom/FastFacts.html Vancouver Aquarium - Online ] ]
members=AZA, CAZA, AMMPA
website=http://www.vanaqua.org/

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is a public aquarium located in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to being a major tourist attraction for Vancouver, the aquarium is a centre for marine research, conservation and marine animal rehabilitation.

The aquarium is recognized for its displays and interpretations. The Vancouver Aquarium claims to be the first facility to incorporate professional naturalists into the galleries to interpret animal behaviours. [cite web |url=http://www.vanaqua.org/ask_us/aquariumhistory.html |title=History of the Aquarium |accessdate=2008-06-03 |publisher=Vancouver Aquarium |quote=...was the first facility to incorporate professional naturalists/interpretive specialists into galleries to explain animal behaviors.] However, naturalists James S. Bowerbank, Dr. E Lankester, Mr D. Mitchell and Philip Henry Gosse, the creator of the word aquarium, [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-239549/Philip-Henry-Gosse Philip Henry Gosse (British naturalist)] ] regularly held "open house" events at the world's first public aquarium at London Zoo Fish House at Regent's Park in the 19th century. [ [http://www.parlouraquariums.org.uk/Papers/b%20AQUARIUM%20HISTORY/History%20Papers/First%20Public%20Aquarium.htm The First Public Marine Aquarium] ]

Aquarium research projects extend world-wide, and include marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation.

The aquarium is run by a self-supporting non-profit organization. The operation of the aquarium receives no government funding. The property is owned by the City of Vancouver and rented to the Aquarium for $40,000 a year since 1991 (prior to which $1 per year).

Aquarium history

The Vancouver Public Aquarium Association was formed in 1950 by UBC fisheries and oceanography professors Murray Newman, Carl Lietze and Wilbert Clemens. It opened on June 15, 1956 after receiving the help of timber baron H.R. MacMillan, alderman and businessman George Cunningham and $100,000 from each of the three levels of government.

Officially Canada's first public Aquarium, the Vancouver Aquarium has become the largest in Canada and one of the five largest in North America.The Vancouver Aquarium was the first aquarium to capture and display a orca whale as well as belugas, narwhals [ [http://www.mi.mun.ca/mi-net/fishdeve/cetace14.htm Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)] ] and dolphins.

In 1975, the Vancouver Aquarium was the first aquarium accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Aquarium is also accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and in 1987 was designated Canada's Pacific National Aquarium by the Canadian Federal Government.

On July 23, 1995, a beluga whale named Qila was born. She was the first beluga to be both conceived and born in a Canadian aquarium. A second calf, Tuvaq, was born on July 30, 2002, but died unexpectedly with no previous sign of illness on July 17, 2005.

In 1996, the Vancouver Aquarium vowed to never again capture cetaceans from the wild, and only obtain cetaceans from other facilities if they too were captured before 1996 (unless a rescue animal).

On June 15, 2006 Canada Post issued a 51 cent domestic rate stamp to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Aquarium.

For many years, the primary attraction for visitors was the orca or killer whale show. [http://www.animalit.ca/2007/06/vancouver-aquarium-horror-story.html] Indeed, the aquarium was responsible for the first orca ever held alive in captivity, Moby Doll, for 3 months in 1964. Since then, it was home to Skana, Hyak II, Finna, Bjossa, and three of Bjossa's calves, all of whom have since died, the last survivor being Bjossa, who was later moved to SeaWorld San Diego, and died in 2001.

When Finna died and Bjossa was left without other orca companions, the Aquarium attempted to acquire one or more female orcas from other marine parks. However, no suitable companions were found, and Bjossa was moved to Sea World, San Diego, in April 2000 where she later died in October 2001. The Aquarium has since moved to emphasize the educational aspects of the displays rather than the public spectacle of the shows. They have also tried to highlight the research and rehabilitation efforts of the staff.

The aquarium has played a significant role in the ground-breaking wild killer whale research in BC. John Ford, a respected researcher who focuses on orca vocalizations, worked there for many years and they still fund a lot of the study. The Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, which funds research, is also run out of the aquarium.

After considerable public debate and despite vocal opposition from animal rights groups, the Vancouver Park Board voted in favour of a proposal to expand the Aquarium at a cost of $80 million. A public consultation process showed 89% of local residents were in favour of the expansion. The proposal will increase the size of the Aquarium by convert|1.5|acre|m2 and extend its lease by 20 years. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2007. [cite news | last =Thomas| first =Sandra| title =Show us a bit more money De Genova tells aquarium| publisher =Vancouver Courier| date =29 November 2006| url =http://www.vancourier.com/issues06/115106/news/115106nn3.html| accessdate = 2006-12-28]

Aquarium facility

The aquarium covers approximately 9000 m² (100,000 ft²) and has a total 9.5 million litres (2.5 million gallons) of water in 166 aquatic displays. There are a number of different galleries:

* "Pacific Canada Pavilion" is the central indoor exhibit comprising a 260,000 litre tank. The exhibit highlights marine life from the Strait of Georgia.
* "Arctic Canada" includes the Beluga whales tank.
* "The Wild Coast" is an outdoor habitat that includes four Pacific White-sided Dolphins, harbour seals, Steller's Sea Lions, and sea otters.
* "Treasures of the BC Coast" is a series of separate exhibits that attempt to simulate the various environments with sea life found on the BC coast.
* "Tropic Zone" has a large display of tropical fish, including sharks and sea turtles.
* "Amazon Rainforest" a number of large fresh water fish, snakes, caimans, sloths and other creatures from the Amazon.
* "Canaccord Exploration Gallery" contains multiple classrooms for school groups, including a theatre and wet lab.
* "Frogs Forever? Gallery" is an exhibit focused on the plight of the world's frog population which endeavors to show how people can help protect frogs.

Animals at the Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is currently home to around 300 species of fish, almost 30,000 invertebrates, and 56 species of amphibians and reptiles. They also have around 60 mammals and birds.

Currently, the Aquarium houses four Pacific White-Sided Dolphins:
* "Spinnaker" is a 19 year old dolphin, and the only male dolphin at the Vancouver Aquarium. He was rescued off the shores of Japan in 1991 after becoming entangled in a fishing net. Deemed unreleasable due to the extent of his injuries, Spinnaker arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2001 . [ [ http://vancouver.ca/Parks/board/2006/060710/bylaw_review_section9.pdf Summary of cetaceans imported into the Vancouver Aquarium since 1996] ] He is identifiable through the fact that he has the most white on the dorsal fin.
* "Hana" is a 12 year old female dolphin at the Aquarium. She suffered a miscarriage on June 8, 2006 and again on May 22, 2007. She came to the Aquarium with Helen from the Enoshima Aquarium in Japan in 2005 after being rescued after becoming entangled in a fishing net. [http://www.vanaqua.org/pressroom/newdolphins.htm - VANCOUVER AQUARIUM WELCOMES 2 NEW DOLPHINS] ] She is identified through the fact that her dorsal fin is the most triangular of all the dolphins at the Aquarium.
* "Helen" is a 19 year old female dolphin at the Aquarium. She came to the Aquarium with Hana from the Enoshima Aquarium in Japan in 2005 after being rescued after becoming entangled in a fishing net. Helen has been part of a multi-year and multi-facility research project focusing on metabolic studies while she was at the Enoshima Aquarium, and is part of a pilot project to understand whale echolocation abilities to prevent whales in the future from becoming entangled in fishing nets. She is distinguishable by the fact that her pectoral flippers are partially amputated, and that her dorsal fin is the most hook shaped of the four.
* "Laverne" is a 30 year old female dolphin at the Aquarium. She is on loan from SeaWorld, San Antonio in Texas in exchange for Allua, a female beluga who is on breeding loan since 2005. She is identifiable through the fact that her dorsal fin is the largest of all the dolphins at the Aquarium.

The Aquarium also houses five Beluga Whales:
* "Kavna" is the oldest beluga whale at the Aquarium; she is estimated to be around 40 years of age. She is distinguishable from the other belugas due to the fact that she is the most white of all the belugas at the Aquarium.
* "Imaq" is the only male beluga whale and is around 21 years of age. He is distinguishable by the fact that he is the largest beluga at the Aquarium.
* "Aurora" is a female beluga and is around 21 years of age.
* "Qila" is a female beluga whale and is around 13 years old. She was born at the Aquarium to mother "Aurora" and father "Nanuq" on July 23, 1995. She is the first beluga to be conceived and born in a Canadian aquarium, and is also the first to be first beluga to be conceived and born in a Canadian aquarium to give birth to a calf.
* An unnamed female baby beluga born to mother "Qila" on June 10, 2008, fathered by "Imaq".

Note that at this current time, "Imaq" and "Kavna" are being kept in a research pool which is unaccessible to the public to give "Qila" and the baby some space.

On breeding loan to SeaWorld are the following:
* "Nanuq" is a male beluga who is around 24 years old. "Nanuq" is "Qila"'s father and is on breeding loan to Sea World since July of 1997.
* "Allua" is a female beluga is around 24 years of age. She was moved to Sea World San Diego on a breeding loan in 2005.

The Aquarium also houses three Sea Otters:
* "Milo" is a 9 year old male sea otter and is on loan from the Lisbon Oceanarium.
* "Tanu" is a 4 year old female sea otter who was abandoned as a pup, was rescued by the Alaska Sea Life Centre and later moved to the Aquarium. [ [http://www.oceancurrents.ca/tanu.htm Ocean Currents - The Marine Mammals of the Vancouver Aquarium] ]
* "Elfin" is a 7 year old male sea otter who was abandoned as a pup, was rescued by the Alaska Sea Life Centre and later moved to the Aquarium. [ [http://www.oceancurrents.ca/elfin.htm Ocean Currents - The Marine Mammals of the Vancouver Aquarium] ]

Nyac, survivor of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, passed away on September 23, 008, due to leukemia.

The Aquarium also houses eight Steller Sea Lions.
* "Eden" is a 6 year old female sea lion at the Aquarium.
* "Tasu" is a female sea lion at the Aquarium.
* "Yasha" is a female sea lion at the Aquarium.
* "Willo" is a female sea lion at the Aquarium.
* "Ashby" is a female sea lion at the Aquarium.
* "Mara" is a female sea lion at the Aquarium.
* "Rogue" is a female sea lion at the Aquarium.
* "Izzy" is a female sea lion at the Aquarium.

Note that all of the female sea lions do not actually belong to the Vancouver Aquarium, but instead belong to the University of British Columbia as they are part of a research program aimed at studying causes into the collapse of the Steller sea lion population in Alaska.

At an off-site research facility, an additional 3 Steller sea lions are kept as part of a open-water research program. They are "Hazy", "Sitka", and "Boni".

On July 1 2008, "Tag", the 15 year old male sea lion passed away due to oral cancer, for which he has had laser surgery and chemotherapy for. [ [http://www.vanaqua.org/pressroom/BelovedStellersealionTagpasses.html BELOVED STELLER SEA LION, TAG, SUCCOMBS TO CANCER] ] Tag was a 15 year old male sea lion who arrived at the Aquarium as a 2 week old pup. [ [http://www.vanaqua.org/pressroom/Tagdental.html AQUARIUM SEA LION RECEIVES DENTAL LASER TREATMENT AND CHEMOTHERAPY] ]

The Aquarium also houses 3 Harbour Seals. While the Aquarium does rescue and release many seals, those that are deemed to be unreleasable may be added to the collection:
* "Apollo" is a male harbour seal that came to the Aquarium as a rehabilitation animal.
* "DaVinci" is a male harbour seal that came to the Aquarium as a rehabilitation animal.
* "Hermes" is a male harbour seal that came to the Aquarium as a rehabilitation animal.

Conservation and Research Programs

The Vancouver Aquarium has created and operates a number of conservation and research programs aimed at understanding and preserving animal species in the wild.

Ocean Wise

The Vancouver Aquarium has a program called Ocean Wise, which is aimed at promoting sustainable seafood with restaurants and markets. [ [http://www.vanaqua.org/oceanwise/about.html About Ocean Wise] ] Ocean Wise works directly with restaurants and markets to select sustainable seafood and actively promote them to the general public. The options are highlighted on participating restaurant menus and display cases with the Ocean Wise symbol, to help consumers make environmentally friendly seafood choices. Today, well over 300 restaurants in Canada are participants in the Ocean Wise program. [ [http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=6b2d2d4e-544c-40a8-b30e-c665c014402e Perfect prawns are Ocean Wise] ]

TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

The TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a program that was initiated by the Vancouver Aquarium by 4 staff members in 1993 who on their own decided to pick up garbage at a local beach. [ [http://www.vanaqua.org/cleanup/whoweare.php TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup - Who We Are] ] Volunteers and sponsors collect and catalogue debris which is then collected for analysis on sources of garbage that enter the ocean. [ [http://www.vanaqua.org/cleanup/whatwedo.php TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup - What We Do] ] For example, in 2007, 1,240 beach sites with a collective length of 1,772km were cleaned by 52,263 volunteers bringing in almost 87.5 metric tons of garbage. [ [http://www.vanaqua.org/cleanup/highlights.php?year=2007 TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup - Item Collection Highlights from 2007] ]

Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program

The Vancouver Aquarium operates a Marine Mammal Rescue Program which is aimed at rescuing marine mammals that are found injured, ill, or abandoned until they can be returned to their natural habitats. On average, the Rescue Centre admits approximately 50 distressed marine mammals per year, ranging from habour seals, sea otters, elephant seals, Steller sea lions, harbour porpoises, and common dolphins. [ [http://www.vanaqua.org/mmrr/aboutus/species_and_range.php Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program - History] ] The program most notably helped rescue Springer, an orphaned killer whale successfully released and reunited with her family pod. Among other high profile rescues include the successful returning of a beached gray whale back to the water in 2005 and the rescue of Schoona, a lost green sea turtle near Prince Rupert, BC.

B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network

The B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network is a collaborative conservation and research program between the Vancouver Aquarium and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada aimed at collecting reports and sightings of whales and sea turtles in the wild. The Sightings Network is a network of over 1,800 observers across British Columbia, including whale watching operators, lighthouse keepers, charter boat operators, tugboat captains, BC Ferries personnel, researchers, government employees, recreational boaters and coastal residents. The program aims to solicit reports through the program's website, a toll-free hotline, email, or through the logbook program. [ [http://wildwhales.org/?page_id=33 About Wild Whales] ]

In popular culture

The Vancouver Aquarium was featured frequently in the 1980s Canadian series, Danger Bay, which followed the day to day exploits of the Roberts family, led by Grant "Doc" Roberts, a marine veterinarian and his two children, Nicole and Jonah.

A YouTube video featuring two sea otters "holding hands" was recorded at the Vancouver Aquarium. The two sea otters are Nyac and Milo. Nyac died on September 23, 2008, she was one of the last surviving sea otters of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill [ [http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=0e35706c-752f-490a-b58c-90de96ee9cb7 YouTube starring Vancouver Aquarium sea otter dies] ] . The video has been viewed over 11 million times on YouTube. As a result, the Vancouver Aquarium created a live Sea Otter Cam on their website. The YouTube video was originally recorded in 2002 by Cynthia Holmes [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epUk3T2Kfno&NR=1 YouTube - Otters holding hands ] ] .

The Vancouver Aquarium was also featured in the movie Good Luck Chuck, where Cam works.

Hayden Panettiere appeared on the Sept. 5, 2008 Letterman Show and talked about her visit with the rescue dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium.

References

Bibliography


*cite book |last=Newman|first=Murray A |coauthors=Nightingale, John |year=2005 |title=People, Fish and Whales: The Vancouver Aquarium Story |location=Madeira Park, BC |publisher=Harbour Publishing |isbn=1550173820 This is a history of the aquarium as told by the founding and current presidents of the aquarium.

*"Waters" is a magazine published by Canada Wide Media Limited for the official members of the Vancouver Aquarium. It is published three times a year.

External links

* [http://www.vanaqua.org/ Vancouver Aquarium Official Site]
* [http://www.youtube.com/user/VancouverAquarium Vancouver Aquarium Channel on YouTube]


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