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"This new aquatic ecology center is a good tool to (allow) students and the overall public to learn about marine life and get a hands on experience," said Cristina Caballero, public relations coordinator for the Brownsville zoo.
Another tank contains the invasive lionfish. Despite their exotic beauty, lionfish are extremely harmful to the ecosystem because they prey on smaller fish but lionfish have no natural predators in the Gulf because they wield venomous fin rays.
Senior Aquarist Mike Callahan, who studied marine science at the University of Miami in Florida, has been working with Michael Kors Bags Images the zoo since March 2012 and took charge of developing the plans and arrangement of the exhibit, as well as organizing the fishing trips. On these fishing trips to the Laguna Madre and offshore South Padre Island, Callahan and other fishermen caught the creatures that are displayed in the zoo's tanks. Catches included the hammerhead sharks and moon jellyfish.
educational banners and graphics will convey key concepts concerning ecosystems and the need to preserve them locally, officials said.
"This is a great opportunity for the public to see what is in their own backyards," Caballero Michael Kors Iphone Case 6
said. "We've had this idea for over five years now. This aquatic exhibit is going to be a different experience when visiting the zoo."
James Russell's mother, Martha Russell, was a donor for the original aquatic wing, and James Russell wanted to continue the tradition of supporting the zoo and its mission, Caballero said.
To raise funds for the new aquatic exhibit, Caballero said the zoo organized fundraisers including Zoofari. The zoo received help from private donors, including the man whose family's name is part of the aquatic center, James Russell, who contributed more than $2 million, Caballero explained.
Gladys Porter Zoo to open new aquatic center
"I'm very excited for the grand opening," Callahan said. "I believe everyone will be happy with the results."
In the exhibit, a 30,000 gallon tank will hold Atlantic and cow nose stingrays, which visitors will be allowed to feed and touch. Other features include a shark discovery exhibit, the Keppel AmFELS moon jellyfish exhibit, a mangrove tank, and an exhibit on ancient mariners and jetties.
Researchers say these tropical fish, descending from the Indo Pacific, were released as pets into the Gulf by aquarium owners around the 1990s. The fish then mated and spread into the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and parts of the Atlantic Ocean. These threatening creatures affect the food chain because their aggressive behavior runs out native fish into unfamiliar water.
The zoo will have staff available to educate the public and answer questions.
The lionfish is included in the exhibit despite not being native so it can educate the public about the threat they pose to the ecosystem. Colorful Michael Kors Handbags Online
Because of the new exhibit, zoo admission prices have changed. Children ages 2 to 13 years old have increased 50 cents, from $6.50 to $7. Adult tickets for 14 years and older also increased 50 cents from $9.50 to $10.
Inside the dimmed exhibit, a variety of tanks display many native sea creatures that live in the Laguna Madre and Gulf of Mexico offshore from the Rio Grande Valley.
released back into the ocean because of his condition and relies on the tank's water circulation to survive.
Visitors can come face to face with local hammerhead sharks with the glass in between, of course and they can meet Flippy, a Kemp's ridley sea turtle and member of an endangered species that can be found in the Gulf.
X rays have shown that Flippy is living with an under developed lung, causing him to float on his right side. The rescued sea turtle cannot be Michael Kors Drawstring Handbags
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