To commemorate Employee Appreciation Day, we wanted to highlight just a few of the incredible staff members who work at the Vancouver Aquarium, including our newest and “oldest” staff members.
With over 35 years at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, Indrajit Canagaratnam, better known as, “Indy”, is one of our longest serving employees. Indy joined the Aquarium back in 1976 as a volunteer in the fish research lab, but Indy’s connection with the Aquarium began even before that. Indy’s father, who came to Canada on a scholarship to study at the University of British Columbia, had the privilege of studying with Dr. Murray Newman, the founding director of the Vancouver Aquarium, and had a lab in our fish research office. One day over a lunch meeting, Indy met Dr. Newman who invited him to volunteer at the Aquarium, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Indy has worked in a number of different departments over the years from fish research, to design, to the aquarists’ team before finding a perfect fit with the marine mammal department, where he’s been for almost 30 years.
During that time, Indy has had a hand working with numerous marine mammals, including Skana, the iconic killer whale that once lived at the Vancouver Aquarium. He’s also seen firsthand the threats humans can cause to our oceans and wildlife, working to treat sea otters that were injured during the 1989 Exxon oil spill.
Indy is also tasked with purchasing food for the Aquarium marine mammals, which is no easy task when you need to source 70,000 kilograms of herring, 30,000 kilograms of clams and 20,000 kilograms of squid on an annual basis, which also meet Ocean Wise standards.
When asked, “What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?” Indy replied, “Our understanding and learnings about marine mammal health and care has changed dramatically in the last 35 years. But even now, there is still so much left to learn.”
On the other end of the spectrum, camp educators, Alicia and Tracey have just joined the Vancouver Aquarium this week as our two newest employees. Both have a love of the great outdoors and a passion for working with animals. They’ll be helping to run Aquarium AquaCamps during March Break and summer holidays. Who knows where their paths might take them over the years to come.
With over 1,500 staff members and volunteers, Aquarium employees are one of the greatest resources in helping to affect aquatic conservation through public engagement, research and word of mouth with family and friends. Looking for a unique opportunity with ocean science, animal care, fish research or visitor engagement? Visit the careers sections of our website to learn more.