Monday, February 8, 2010

Aquarium of the Pacific - Feb. 6, 2010

The Aquarium of the Pacific, or Long Beach Aquarium as many locals call it, is a fascinating place to visit. I drove down with my husband Garen on a rainy Sat. morning to meet his Marine Biology Class from Santa Monica College for their last field trip of Winter Session.

At 9:45 almost the entire class was assembled and ready to enter. I have to say that getting there early on a Sat. is a great idea. You have the place relatively to yourself before the families with strollers storm the exhibits. Although, I absolutely loved seeing the hundreds of people who brought their children out to explore the underwater worlds waiting for them. Building awareness and appreciation for these fascinating animals from a young age is a major solution to environmental protection.

A Scorpion Fish
A Ray - look at its mouth! Unbelievably cute.
A Leafy Sea Dragon - much like a Sea Horse except that they look more exotic with their "leafy" camouflage.
A Lorikeet - found in the Southern Pacific.
Aren't their colors beautiful?
Above is a picture of a diver for the aquarium that came in to feed the fish and rays. He offered leafy looking lettuce to the rays who eagerly munched it down. I think that zoos and aquariums, when managed properly, serve several important functions in the community and for the animals. But this is the first time that I briefly thought the marine life that lived there are lucky not to be digesting plastic trash, and pollution when looking for food. My thought surprised me.
A Saw-toothed Shark and a Leopard Shark maybe saying good morning as they passed one another in the shark tank.

One thing that I really like about the Aquarium of the Pacific is that they go to great lengths to educate the public properly about sharks. They emphasize how ancient they are and now how endangered they've become due to irresponsible fishing practices and Shark Finning.

If you didn't know, Shark Finning is when a shark is caught, their fins cut off, and their body dumped back into the water to sink and slowly drown. Sharks need water washing over their gills from constant movement for them to breath. Left with no fins for them to swim with, they literally sink to the bottom and drown. One of the first exhibits you see upon entering the aquarium is a huge poster explaining Shark Finning to the public. Hopefully, with awareness and activism, Shark Finning will become a thing of the past and not a part of people's soup.
Yao Ming's, (NBA star Center for the Houston Rockets), PSA against Shark Fin Soup! Yay Yao!!!

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