Letter From The Director

Dear Members,

Earth Day, April 22, was spent in Peru assisting with the release of three rescued and rehabilitated Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis). Even though this has become an annual event, the activities this year were just as exciting and rewarding as the previous releases. More specific information about the steps involved and the number of participants necessary for this event are described in Earth Day in Peru. During the past five years, the events have been visited by officials from WAZA, ALPZA and AZA. Although most officials this year were more local, we still remember the previous year when Kris Vehrs and Jim Maddy (AZA) both participated in the celebration.
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At the DWA more than 1,000 pre-packaged Eastern Red Cedar seedlings were distributed on Earth Day, not only to students, but other children visiting as well. Guests were also provided with information about preserving our Earth’s Natural Resources and reminded of AZA’s new initiative known as AZA SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) – DWA, Earth Day and AZA SAFE. This article discusses efforts to save the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus), a small critically endangered porpoise. To help raise awareness of this marine mammal, we will be playing a short video in the theater through Labor Day.

World Oceans Day (June 8) was an excellent time to highlight not only the importance of keeping our oceans healthy, but to also introduce our guests to the animals in our collection that are part of the AZA’s SAFE program. There are currently ten signature SAFE species, of which two are found at the DWA – African penguins and sharks, both which can be found in our oceans. Packets were distributed describing the rationale and importance for both World Oceans Day and SAFE, with two coloring postcards (African penguin and sawfish) and crayons included in the contents. We were pleased to share the day with our Friends from Baylor Rehab.

Recent renovations have been made in Mundo Maya. The changes to the River Delta exhibit prepared the habitat for its newest resident, The Water Opossum. This unique semi-aquatic marsupial is not too social but we will try to make the lighting in this exhibit suitable to his nocturnal life-style as he adjusts to his habitat. The multi-level Jaguar exhibit has been modified and a new tree added at the second level as described in A Tree Above the Temple. “Balam”, hand-raised due to rejection by his mother, is a beautiful black Jaguar enjoying the additions to his home.
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After what seemed like an eternal period of time, The Wait is Over. This article relates the anticipation and final success of breeding one of the most colorful toucans, the Keel-billed. After the hatchings of twenty-two other subspecies/species in the Ramphastidae family, we are excited that juvenile Keel-bills will soon be part of the rainforest.

We were a sponsor of and participant in the Mexican Crocodilian Workshop in Chiapas, Mexico held at various facilities in Mexico. It focused on the management and conservation of three species of crocodilians.

Books of the Month highlights three volumes of Unlikely Friendships for Kids. The inspirational short stories encourage an awareness and better understanding of unlike species finding new friends, developing respect and caring for each other.

Thank you for your continued support of the DWA.

Daryl Richardson

To find out how you can bring your group to The Dallas World Aquarium, contact us at: education@dwazoo.com or call 214 720 2224