Wildfires, smoke and air quality are top of mind for many of us in the western U.S., and our hearts go out to those who have been directly impacted by the fires. All is safe at the Seattle Aquarium but, due to very poor air quality in our region, we’ve been closed to the public since last Friday afternoon to help protect the health of our guests, staff, and volunteers.
How does poor air quality affect the animals in our care? It depends on the species as well as individual underlying health conditions, if any. “Fish and many aquatic invertebrates do their gas exchange across gills—and smoke and ash shouldn’t have any direct impact on the quality of our water,” explains Senior Veterinarian Dr. Caitlin Hadfield.
Pinto abalone (AKA: Northern abalone), Haliotis Kamtschatkana, have been installed in their own exhibit in Puget Sound Fish. This species is the only abalone native to the Northwest. Never commercially fished, the recreational fishery for them was closed in 1994 because of over-harvesting.
On September 17, 2011 thousands of volunteers ventured out to hundreds of shorelines all over the world for the 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day. Here in Seattle, it was the last and coldest Saturday of the summer.
Day 6 - Aug 22: Shipping Day — Our first “non-collecting” day of the trip — today we send our first group of animals to Seattle. Since we were not going to a collecting site, we got to sleep in a little — although most of the group was up and moving before 6:30am anyway. Bryan and Alan took the fish that were collected last night (held in coolers in the van overnight) to the Waikiki Aquarium while the rest of us cleaned up the gear and gathered the supplies needed for packing and shipping the animals.
Ice toys are an important part of the Aquarium’s enrichment efforts, providing fun and development for the marine mammals in our exhibits. These enrichment efforts also provide us with the opportunity to educate our visitors and enhance their experience at the Aquarium.
Day 2 — Aug 18: 5am start time. After breakfast and packing lunch to take with us, the team loaded up the vans and headed to the north shore of the island to begin a “shake down” collecting day at Hale’iwa.