The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest aquarium with over 70,000 amazing animals.
As I walked through the Frogs Forever exhibit, I learned that one third to half of the world’s amphibians could vanish in our lifetime due to loss of their habitats, pollution caused by humans and a deadly parasitic fungus called “Chytrid.” This exhibit reminds us of the human impact on even the tiniest creatures. The Vancouver Aquarium is doing their part in saving these species from becoming extinct. They have joined forces with other zoos and aquariums around the world to raise awareness but most importantly rescue, protect and breed the most threatened species.
The Aquarium’s Animal Encounters sessions allow guests to have a hands-on experience, working along side a trainer to feed and interact with the animals. This is a great educational program that gets kids and adults up close and personal with some of these amazing creatures. I had an unique opportunity to have a dolphin encounter with Spinnaker, a Pacific white-sided dolphin. He has been a resident at The Vancouver Aquarium for over 20 years after being injured due to some fishing nets near the coast of Japan.
Spinnaker was agile and spunky! I knelt down on the dock and helped the trainers to feed him after he completed certain commands. When I looked at his face, it looked like he had a permanent smile. I also got a chance to feel his skin when he hoisted himself up on the platform. His skin felt thick and rubbery. I was so impressed how well trained he was. And the finale was when he leaped out of the water and high into the air. That was quite amazing!
My next animal encounter was with Milo, the sea otter. During my feeding session with him, I fed him mussels, clams and fish. He gently ate the food as he floated on his back in a comfortable position. Generally, sea otters eat 25% of their body weight every day.
Sea otters have the densest fur in the animal kingdom. And because they do not have a layer of fat to keep them warm, they rely on their under fur to trap air which creates an insulating layer to keep them warm. During the fur trade days, humans hunted the sea otters for their fur, almost to the point of extinction. Today, sea otters are protected by the law and are increasing in numbers.
The most important lesson I took away from visit to the aquarium was how valuable marine life animals are to our eco-system and how our behavior in relation to the environment can have a huge impact on their existence.
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