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The New Year has arrived and many of us are figuring out our personal goals to make 2019 the best year yet! We at the Aquarium are making our own resolution: to be part of the solution in the fight for a plastic-free future.
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Over the past year the Aquarium has been trying to keep our readers up to date on the challenges facing our local orca population. The southern residents, better known as the J, K and L pods, are down to just 74 family members and news recently broke that two more members of J and K pods are struggling to get the food they need to survive.
What’s soft, squishy, able to spill its guts and found in most Seattle Aquarium habitats? The sea cucumber! These invertebrates (animals without backbones) can confuse or harm predators by expelling their internal organs—literally spilling their guts—along with a toxic substance, in the direction of an attack. The missing organs regenerate in one to five weeks.
Invertebrates—animals without backbones—are found in every habitat at the Seattle Aquarium. And, like all animals that make their homes with us, they need expert care to thrive.
Aggregating anemones are the most abundant species of anemone along the North American coast. Found attached to rocks, they prey on small fish, snails, crabs and other animals that they immobilize with venom from their tentacles, then devour through their mouths, located at the top center of their bodies.
Many of us have heard about the growing problem around single-use plastics and at the Aquarium we are committed to how we can take positive steps toward making a difference! Unfortunately the statistics are staggering. Globally we are now producing almost 300 million tons of plastics every year, with more than half of that being “single use.”
The Seattle Aquarium is excited to announce that we recently partnered with Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company on a new sea salted caramel ice cream bar! The ice cream which has received the Aquarium’s “Seal of Approval” will be available in a variety of local stores and in our very own Aquarium Café. A portion of the proceeds from each bar sold will support conservation and educational programming at the Aquarium. We have to admit, we got an early taste and they are quite yummy!
“Daily disposable contact lenses crate a lot of waste,” says Aquarium volunteer Jacquelyn Simmons. She has, if you’ll pardon the pun, a clear view of that waste: When she’s not volunteering at the Aquarium, Jacquelyn works as a patient coordinator at the Columbia Vision Center optometry office in Seattle—“It’s another way to enjoy biology!” she laughs.
As part of ongoing efforts to help save our southern resident orca population, a task force convened by Governor Jay Inslee has been meeting regularly over the past six months to help determine how we can take measurable steps to better protect our local orca population. Photo: Center for Whale Research.
Just like people, the animals at the Aquarium benefit from expert care, including regular medical exams. And recently, when three of our resident wolf eels were being relocated into new habitats, senior veterinarian Caitlin Hadfield, Vet MB Dipl. ACZM Dipl. ECZM, worked with Aquarium staff aquarists to do routine health checks.
We all love our local southern resident orcas, but they continue to struggle as they face ongoing strain on their local habitat and food supply. The Seattle Aquarium along with numerous local leaders, researchers, conservationists and partners from the Orca Salmon Alliance are advocating for greater protections for this iconic species and the salmon they depend on for food.
Sodexo, the Aquarium’s café/catering partner, recently received an “Outie” award for workplace excellence at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Seattle. The award recognizes Sodexo for their historic and ongoing commitment to pursuing and executing workplace inclusion and equality for LGBT employees.
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