The Lakes Aquarium is involved in conservation projects on a local, national and even international basis.
Breeding programme of West African Dwarf Crocodiles
Lakes Aquarium has recently taken delivery of four baby African dwarf crocodiles. The crocodiles arrived last week from ‘Croc Man’ Shaun Foggett. Shaun is known for his successful Channel 5 documentary ‘Croc Man’, showing the conservation and breeding work he carries out at his attraction ‘Crocodiles of the World’ based in Oxfordshire.
One of Shaun greatest successes was to become the first private breeder to hatch a clutch of endangered African Dwarf Crocodiles. Four of which now live at Lakes Aquarium and will remain here until they are old enough to become part of the breeding programme.
Dwarf crocodiles are the smallest crocodiles species growing to a typical adult length of 1.8 metres. The dwarf crocodile is designated as a vulnerable species in the wild. They are at threat from habitat change and are often killed for food.
The four baby crocs are delighting visitors as not only are they amazing to watch but at just 20cm long, keepers are handling the crocs daily in order to socialise them and ensure they can are used to human contact. Visitors watch in awe as the crocs are removed from the tanks and handled daily by the keepers.
Source to Sea
Thinking Big for Nature around Morecambe Bay
Morecambe Bay is famous around the world, not just for its natural beauty, but for the outstanding variety of wildlife it supports. This includes some of England’s rarest and most precious butterflies, birds and wild flowers.
To secure a better future for our cherished landscape and wildlife, organisations and businesses with a passion for nature are working together around Morecambe Bay to enhance and reconnect the area’s special wetland, limestone, grassland and woodland habitats, and improve water quality in our rivers, streams and sea.
The partnership is inspiring people to take action for the natural world through events and volunteering and supporting sustainable farming, woodfuel and wildlife tourism businesses
The work is being supported by two national programmes:
The Morecambe Bay Limestones and Wetlands Nature Improvement Area is one of twelve areas in England being supported by Government to support biodiversity; and
Source to Sea is improving water quality and is supported by the Environment Agency.
Find out more
RAISING MONEY FOR MONK SEAL CONSERVATION
In 2010, Lakes Aquarium and all of Parques Reunidos sites across the world including Blackpool Zoo and bournemouth Oceanarium chose to raise as much money as possible to help the most endangered marine mammal left on the planet, the monk seal.
However the monk seals battle to get off the endangered species list is proving to be a difficult one, and they still need help. Because of this we have decided to continue our support for these beautiful creatures for the whole of 2011. With your help we can really make a difference. Throughout the year, we will be holding special fund raising activities.
The CBD-Habitat Mauritania Monk Seal Conservation Project with the help from money raised have been able to continue their work monitoring the Monk Seal population in the Mediterranean, identifying key threats to their survival and educating locals about seal conservation. The results are starting to show, with monk seals beginning to reoccupy lost habitat in the Capo Blanco Peninsula.
In 1945, Spanish expert D Eugenio Morales-Agacino discovered the Cabo Blanco colony of monk seals off the cost of Mauritania. This population now accounts for approximately half of the entire species, with nearly 300 individuals.
The community is under serious threat from a lack of appropriate breeding sites, with only 2 caves offering a suitable environment and protection. With such a fragile population, just one disaster such as an infection oil slick or rock collapse could mean catastrophe for the colony and population as a whole.
The CBD Habitat Mauritania Monk Seal Conservation Project aims to disperse and expand the population to ensure its long term future. The project has a permanent base near the monk seal’s breeding caves, allowing researchers to observe the following areas of investigation:
· Distribution of the population and composition of the group.
· Births and integration of newborns
· Reproduction and pregnancy
· Mortality and development of individuals
· Nursing and parenting
· Diet and nutrition
· Natural behaviour patterns including diving.
· Genetic studies and potential threats.
At the end of 2010, Jesus, the Parques Reunidos Director for Animal Management visited the monk seal colony to see how the money raised by all the parks was being put to good use.
WHO ARE THE CBD- HABITAT FOUNDATION
CBD- Habitat are a not for profit organisation that develops biodiversity and conservation projects across Europe. They aim to improve the environment and aid threatened species – spreading awareness and respect for our natural world.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Next time you visit us please check out our display boards about the monk seals, keep an eye out for fundraising activities, get involved and if you can, please do your little bit to help!
Current conservation projects
- We are actively involved in an international fundraising and awareness campaign for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal. This project is a collective effort with all other Parques Reunidos zoos and aquariums across Europe.
- The Lakes Aquarium team participate in river survey work on the River Kent and River Leven in partnership with the South Cumbria Rivers Trust. The aim of this work is to evaluate and monitor the salmonid population in rivers in the local area. Aquarium staff take part in this survey work and use their specialised knowledge and skills to help the trust complete the required work. Electro fishing is carried out to establish the fish populations in the river systems. Once the populations have been established they will then be monitored over time to detect any trends.
- We have also been involved in FAITAG project in partnership with English Nature to hatch and rear Vendace, a local protected fish species.
Establishing fish populations on the river Kent
- Tourism & Conservation Partnership members since 2001, we have raised a total of £4500 through the highest earning donations box. Through this scheme we have supported reedbed restoration projects.
- We have also worked with the Morecambe Bay Partnership on fundraising and awareness raising projects for numerous years.
- Workshops and demonstrations by the following organisations regularly take place at the aquarium, raising awareness of important conservation issues: Ravenglass coastal partnership, Cumbria Wildlife Trust (Save Our Squirrels), Furness Bat group, Carrio Raptors, Furness Owls, RSPB, Red Alert.
- We were proud supporters of South Cumbria Rivers Trust Educational Project & Experience the River 2008.
- The Lakes Aquarium has also promoted the Marine Conservation Society and Shark Trust by gathering signatures for petition campaigns.
- Staff have also attended workshops for conservation in the Irish Sea