If you waddle on down to Penguin Point today, you might notice things are a little quiet. To mark the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day, the endangered African penguin will vanish from the exhibit to highlight the growing need to save endangered species from extinction. Take a peek on our live penguin cam to see for yourself!
The “vanishing” penguins are part of a larger, North America-wide effort organized by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), of which the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is a member. Specifically, the 229-accredited members of AZA have joined forces to raise awareness of our combined efforts to prevent animals from becoming extinct as part of AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction.
This year, SAFE will focus on 10 species; an additional 10 species will be added each year over the next 10 years. The inaugural 10 species include the African penguin, Asian elephants, black rhinoceros, cheetah, gorilla, sea turtles, vaquita, sharks and rays, Western pond turtle and Whooping Crane.
In addition to SAFE-listed animals that reside at the Aquarium (African penguin, sea turtle, sharks and rays), several other species will be highlighted today detailing the threats to each endangered species as well as what you can do to help conserve them.
One example of conservation success is the Oregon spotted frog breeding program at the Vancouver Aquarium. The Oregon spotted frog is the most endangered amphibian in Canada. Habitat destruction and the introduction of non-native species into the Fraser River Valley have caused the Oregon spotted frog population to decline rapidly in recent years. In 2010, the Aquarium began breeding these frogs behind-the-scenes and each year several thousand tadpoles are released back to the wild to supplement the population.
Each visit to the Vancouver Aquarium contributes to aquatic conservation, research and education. You can have further impact by donating to the Aquarium’s conservation programs online at: www.support.vanaqua.org/frogs.
Follow the conversation online today, May 15, using #savingspecies and #EndangeredSpeciesDay.