Days Out – ‘Sea Life’ London stock take

Wearing wetsuits and armed with a vast collection of cleaning tools, aquarists at Sea Life London recently dived into its annual creature ‘count and clean’ to take stock of its huge array of amazing marine species.

Aquarists at the South Bank aquarium faced the enormous challenge of counting in excess of 7,000 of its fascinating creatures, in addition to sprucing-up their homes so they gleam for guests in 2019.

The count element of this annual event allows Sea Life London to take part in international breeding programmes, alongside Sea Life centres around the world.

This includes the Sea Life Trust, British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (EAZA) studbook programmes which aim to conserve the healthy population of animals.

During the annual ‘count and clean’ the species are expertly examined and counted by the team at Sea Life London, as well as recording any new arrivals. It also offers aquarists the opportunity to enhance their strong bonds with the creatures they care for, as they get up close and personal with them throughout the ‘count and clean’ process.

The Ocean tank houses stingrays and two green sea turtles, Boris and Phoenix. Rainforest Adventure underwent its first survey of its many creatures, including 200 piranha, 1,000 cockroaches and over one million leafcutter ants since it opened in 2018.

The largest animal in the ‘count and clean’ is the sand tiger shark (3m long) and the smallest is the coral polyp (less than 1mm). Last year saw Sea Life London welcome a gorgeous new gentoo penguin chick which Sea Life fans named Luna.

Sea Life London’s curator, who leads the ‘count and clean’, Xoan Dominguez, said: “There’s never a dull moment at Sea Life London and our January ‘count and clean’ is one of the most exciting months in our calendars.”

“While our aquarists have lots of fun during the count and clean, it’s also a task that we take very seriously as it’s a vital exercise that helps us maintain the health and well-being of our creatures both now and for future generations to come.”

Sea Life London houses more than 7,000 creatures in the attraction across 15 themed zones including Penguin Point, Shark Discovery and Ocean Invaders.

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