The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is home to over 50,000 aquatic creatures and growing — Pokémon Go has thrown some new cool critters in the mix. Most of you bitten by the Pokémania bug have already discovered the Pokéstops at the Aquarium and we’ve enjoyed seeing pictures of your newly acquired Pokémons during your visits. What you might not have noticed is just how many of these critters resemble some of the marine animals already at the Aquarium.
Tentacool uses its toxic tentacles to ensnare prey and other Pokémon. Just like the jellyfish here at the Vancouver Aquarium, Tentacool’s body is translucent and can refract light. Tentacool is based off of Australia’s venomous box jellyfish, a jelly whose toxins can kill a person in minutes. While we don’t have box jellies here, you can check out our moon jellies in the Canaccord Exploration Gallery.
Poliwag can use its hypnotic body to lull predators into a peaceful slumber. If that’s not enough then its thin, slippery skin can resist even some of the toughest of bites and scratches. While this tadpole Pokémon certainly seems well equipped to survive, not all frog species in our world can say the same. Many are being threatened by human development, introduced species and pollution. The Vancouver Aquarium is part of a successful project to breed and release tadpoles of the endangered Oregon spotted frog back to their native wetland habitats – you can also search for these guys in the Aquarium’s Frogs Forever? exhibit.
Just like Staryu is frequently found along the beaches and in the waters of Kanto, real life sea stars also live along the coastlines of the world. And you can find quite a few different sea stars here at the Aquarium, including blood stars, purple stars and mottled stars. There used to be a lot more living in our exhibits, but sea stars in B.C. are facing new challenges including the Sea Star Wasting Disease that causes sea stars to literally melt. Many of the sea stars in the exhibits here were infected by the same disease that affected those living in our local waters. You can help the Aquarium track the impact of this disease by reporting your sighting of dying sea stars. Visit our website for more information.
Goldeen, the goldfish Pokémon is known for its beautiful red and white fins. Don’t let its looks fool you, Goldeen can certainly protect itself with its sharp horn. Although not nearly as pretty, rockfishes are a common find in our Treasures of the BC Coast Gallery. They come in many colours including red, orange, black, brown and yellow. Rockfishes play an important role in B.C.’s ecosystems being prey and predator to many other animals. People love to eat them and some are marketed as red snapper. They are long-lived and take a long time to reach breeding age, so they’re easily overfished. Luckily, you can help. Get to know the Ocean Wise symbol and order Ocean Wise seafood you’re when dining out or shopping for seafood at the market.
Seel loves to lounge on beaches and rocks and uses its thick white fur to survive some of the coldest waters. Seel is based off of real life seal pups, which the Aquarium rescues every summer. We have our very own “Pokémon Centre” – the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre – an animal hospital that rescues and rehabilitates stranded and injured marine mammals, like seal pups. Although seals are its primary patients, many marine animals living at the Aquarium are rescues that have been rehabilitated at the Rescue Centre, including the young false killer whale Chester, the harbour porpoises Jack and Daisy, and the green sea turtle Schoona, to name a few. Because of their inability to survive on their own in the wild, due to injuries or their inability to find food and care for themselves, they receive long-term care by our very own trainers at the Aquarium.
During your next visit, we would love to see which marine animal-like Pokémon you find while exploring the galleries. Take a screen caption of your new critters and share them with us by tagging @vanaqua and #vanaqua.
Aquablog post by Kevin Eng, Vancouver Aquarium Guest Services lead.