News from National Aquarium in Baltimore

In the South American rain forest at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, nine splashbacked poison dart frogs have metamorphosed in a backup area.  This is significant because to the knowledge of Aquarium herpetologists, this is a first in this country.  Black with a splash of orange, they will be in the Amazon River Forest exhibit, now in the planning stage.  Twenty-five species of poison dart frogs have been successfully bred at this Aquarium.

A gray seal that has been rehabilitated by Marine Animal Rescue Program personnel will be released this fall from Nahant, near Boston.  This is the first gray seal released by the Aquarium.  It will be transported to the area in a Coast Guard plane, first class accommodations, and fitted with a satellite tag so that its movements can be tracked.
A recently released hooded seal has been tracked to the Newfoundland area.  It is doing well and diving to depths of 1,000 feetóthe length of more than three football fields.  Its satellite tag is providing new information about the diving patters of hooded seals.

North Carolina Aquariums Plan Expansion

New, Rare Polka-Dotted Stingray At The San Antonio ZooThe three North Carolina Aquariums will double their size and offer more educational opportunities to visitors, thanks to a $32 million appropriation included in the budget approved last week by the NC General Assembly.  Each aquarium (Roanoke Island, Fort Fisher, and Pine Knoll Shores) will focus on a theme unique to its region.  The North Carolina Roanoke Island Aquarium, which will close for 14 months to facilitate construction, will include a newly renovated, 70,000 square-foot aquarium focusing on the "Waters of the Outer Banks."  This exhibit will highlight local freshwater, brackish and ocean environments.  New and larger tanks will house sharks, barracuda, sea turtles, and other marine life found in the aquatic habitats at the Outer Banks.  The focal point of the aquarium, an 180,000-gallon ocean tank, will feature a variety of reef fishes and invertebrates swimming among the skeletal remains of the recreated USS Monitor shipwreck.

The Fort Fisher Aquarium, situated at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, will center its expansion plans on the "Waters of Cape Fear River System."  Tanks and exhibits will highlight the aquatic life found in freshwater rivers and swamps to estuaries, reefs, and the open ocean.  Five aquatic zones of North Carolina will be interpreted in the renovated aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.  "Aquatic Life from the Mountains to the Sea" will focus on mountain streams, piedmont rivers and lakes, waters of the coastal plain, swamps and marshes, and the open ocean.

Jacksonville Zoo Launches International Effort to save Endangered Jaguar Population

The Jacksonville Zoo has teamed with Venezuelan wildlife and zoological officials in the unprecedented import of three wild-born jaguars.  Once found from the southern United States through Central America and most of South America, the jaguar (Panthera onca) is now classified as "highly endangered" by international wildlife authorities, and survives mainly in the rain forests of Central and South America.  The zoo has three of the only four non-sibling, genetically traceable jaguars in North America.  If their mail and two females reproduce, the potential founder population for long-term captive management will increase by 300 percent.

The unique American-Venezuelan  agreement was signed in March of this year among the Jacksonville Zoo; FUNZPA, and Venezuelan zoo authority; and PROFAUNA, the Venezuelan wildlife agency.  The two parties plan cooperative activities to benefit Venezuelan wildlife programs as well as promote education and research at the Jacksonville Zoo.  Additional information is available at the Zoo's website (

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