We would like to extend a big heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in the Survive the Sound challenge. If you picked the Aquarium’s fish Pierre 59 we have some great news—you won! Pierre 59 was a strong swimmer and crossed the finish line ranked in first place! Pierre 59 was able to successfully migrate out of the Salish Sea, but the fact is not every fish made it. Migrating salmon face many obstacles as they travel through our local waters, and this challenge showed us that a small fraction of the fish who undertake the journey make it out to the open ocean (only seven of 48 total fish).
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.
We have all been gripped by the heartbreaking images of our Southern resident orca Tahlequah (also known as J35) as she mourned the death of her calf this past week. At the Seattle Aquarium we are all grieving along with the rest of the world. And though we are sad, we are viewing this as a wakeup call around the health of the Salish Sea and our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment.