October 27, 2020

Walking turtles and octopuses at your game, life goes on in an aquarium without people

The closure forced by the confinement has allowed the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria aquarium to launch different activities for their animals, such as letting two of their turtles, Miguela and Fernanda, walk around the center or teach octopuses to play to get food.

The animals that live in the Poema del Mar Aquarium “are also enjoying the fact that we have more time to dedicate to them, observe them and understand their behavior even more,” Patricia Campos, assistant to the technical director of this tourist complex, explains to Efe.

“You can see that the whole world out there has stopped and it seems that this tranquility has been transmitted to life within,” says this biologist.

It is not only the African spurred tortoises Miguela and Fernanda that enjoy innovative activities during confinement. So have the octopuses, who have been given a toy from which they have to get the fish out if they want to eat it.

“We have many lives in our hands. The work cannot stop,” Campos recalls, before specifying that, since the state of alarm was declared, some thirty people continue to work in the aquarium to take care of all their animals.

The last day they opened to the public was March 14, the same Saturday in which the state of alarm was declared, but the aquarists continue inside with their work, giving the animals the food and treatments they need, taking care of and cleaning their home every day.

“It shows that life goes on and that the animals are healthy and happy is that some have had calves during quarantine, such as seahorses or some species of rays and sharks that have laid eggs,” says the assistant director of installation.

In total, some 40,000 animals of more than 350 different species are part of the Poema del Mar Aquarium family.

“Quarantine is not negatively affecting animals,” says the biologist responsible for the specific care of animals, facilities and filtration systems that make the water in optimal conditions.

When the state of alarm was declared in Spain, one of the first measures taken in Poema del Mar was to ensure the supply of food for the next two or three months, for which the freezers have been filled with about five tons of fish, shrimp, mussels, clams and crabs.

Animals receive minced food according to their size, except for Sundays, the day they fast, while aquarists continue to receive fresh fruits and vegetables every two or three days to feed the turtles.

To maintain contact with the public during the quarantine, the Aquarium of the capital has launched a campaign on social networks, with the hashtag #encasaconPoemadelMar, so that its public can continue to know everything about the animals that live in the facility, They can even ask their own questions about the species they want to meet.

“Our followers love feeding videos,” says the person in charge of social networks, Gara Cárdenes, who specifies that they already knew the interest of visitors in how animals are fed and, therefore, they had begun to install schedules next to each aquarium exhibit.

Confinement has forced the populations of many countries to remain at home, which is also allowing ecosystems to recover from the pressure of human activity in some parts of the world.

On the coasts of the islands “whales and dolphins have been seen again” since the quarantine began, thanks to the fact that the animals now have “the freedom to enjoy their environment, without the interruption of human beings, of fishing, of the transport of goods or people “, highlights Patricia Campos.

“On Earth, not only we live. We have to share the planet and, of course, be more respectful,” he adds.

The assistant director of the Poem of the Sea invites the public to return or go to the Aquarium for the first time as soon as its doors can be reopened, since, in her opinion, it is now “prettier than ever”, with new members in family and new exhibits waiting for visitors.

Laura Herrera


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