It may sound like deja vu all over again, but the annual release of four Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis) on Earth Day, April 22, 2014 was even more exciting and rewarding than the earlier three releases. Perhaps this is due to our knowing that the previous releases were extremely successful and each year, we have a new audience attending the event. The success of the Center’s involvement with school children and their families through the educational programs, was evidenced by the excitement and participation of young and old alike. The singing of the Manatee Song composed by the children was quite “catchy” and will not be easily forgotten. Local, regional and national dignitaries and media added to the hype. Accompanying us this year were Jim Maddy (AZA President and CEO) and Kris Vehrs (AZA Executive Director). In Jim’s correspondence to colleagues, he wrote, “…we had the opportunity to participate in one of the greatest experiences I’ve had a chance to be a part of. As guests of the Dallas World Aquarium, we were witnesses to four rehabilitated manatees being returned to their natural habitat in the Oxbow Lake Moena on the Yanayacu River, which is a tributary of the Amazon River, and also located in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve. Our experience included an environmental education workshop with some very curious and lively local children from the community and a visit to the Amazon Rescue Center, where the staff there have rehabilitated not only manatees but also Amazon River dolphins, giant otters and jaguars.”
At the DWA, we are busy in the nursery tending to babies! Trogonidae – Quetzals and Trogons shares the success we have experienced in the breeding of the beautiful Golden-headed quetzal. Next time you visit, use the regular admission entrance to look for the baby joey described in It’s a Squirrel? It’s an Opossum? It’s a Sloth? Although not currently on exhibit, the keeper of our tiny pudus, will spark your anticipation for their appearance in Too Cute – Pudu Fawn. Ambassadors at the DWA explains the purpose for the ambassador program which is now in full gear for summer.
I highly recommend the Book of the Month (“For the LOVE of WILD PLACES”) for this quarter. In addition to the authors, Greg and Mary Beth Dimijian, being members of the DWA, they have so graciously shared some of their beautiful photographs with us for our use over the years. The image of the Shark Tunnel on the cover of our Field Guide and on the larger totes in the Gift Shop was taken by Greg – so we naturally think of them often as we distribute the Field Guides to our guests.
Enjoy the summer and thanks for your continued support of the DWA.