You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!

by The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
You Can Save Israel's Unique Aquatic Habitats!
The new exhibit design
The new exhibit design

The Dead Sea section of the Four Seas Gallery at the Aquarium will be fully renovated in the coming  weeks.

The upgrade will include the addition of a tank for the Dead Sea Tooth Carp - a unique species of killifish that lives in the freshwater springs, streams, pools and sinkholes of three fragmented areas near the Dead Sea in both Israel and Jordan.

It is found nowhere else in the world, and has been classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The Aquarium will establish a breeding nucleus for this species to act as a backup or “ark” for the wild population given the fragile state of its current habitat.

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A few exciting changes planned in this new year at the Aquarium.

Firstly, Tank 33, the final tank on the circular route, which up until now has housed a school of red drum fish.

After two years of searching, we now have the stingrays: common, purple and cow-nose, which were part of the original zoological plan for this tank.

Following quarantine of the stingrays, a renovation of the tank and updating of the signs, the new exhibition will be opened to the public.

Secondly, the Dead Sea section on the Four Seas Gallery will be upgraded with the addition of a tank for the Dead Sea Tooth Carp - a unique species of killifish that lives in the freshwater springs, streams, pools and sinkholes of three fragmented areas near the Dead Sea in both Israel and Jordan.

It is found nowhere else in the world, and has been classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The Aquarium will establish a breeding nucleus for this species to act as a backup or “ark” for the wild population given the fragile state of its habitat.

Thirdly, we have started planning an exciting new exhibit, which will be in the area of tanks 16-18 (the clownfish (nemo) area) of nocturnal splitfin flashlight fish.

Splitfin flashlight fish have bean-shaped organs beneath their eyes that host light-producing bacteria. The fish can turn this light on and off by blinking, sending Morse code-like signals into the deep abyss.

In order to accommodate these fish, we will need to build a tunnel or partition which will allow them to be viewed in the dark.

We look forward to reporting on the completion of these new projects during the year.

 

Have a healthy winter, 

Rachael and the Aquarium Team

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Red Knob Starfish
Red Knob Starfish

The latest government regulations in Israel require that the Aquarium is operates under the 'Green Pass' system. This means that all visitors are required to show proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid, or a negative PCR test (for children over 3 years) before entry to the facility. 

The Aquarium staff are working hard to ensure an easy and smooth entry process for all our visitors.

As part of the efforts to complete and expand the zoological collection of the Aquarium, a large shipment from Kenya brought some new fish, stars, rays and even an octopus.  Included were red knobbed starfish, blue starfish and honeycomb rays.

In the past, we have received our octopuses from Israeli fisherman in the Mediterranean but in the past months, they have reported that all the octopuses seem to have gone done to depths below 50 m, making them more difficult to catch. The fisherman believe that this is a result of rising water temperatures this year, brought on by climate change.

The jellyfish exhibits in the Aquarium received a boost with the arrival of new moon jellies and Japanese sea nettles (Chrysaura pacifica) in a shipment from France.

Visitor viewing jellyfish
Visitor viewing jellyfish
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The Coral Tank
The Coral Tank

One of the most important exhibits at the Gottesman Aquarium is the Coral Tank. This is the only exhibit which has real, live coral, the rest of the tanks having artificial coral displays.

Coral reefs are thought to be the equivalent of rainforests in terms of their importance to the environment, supporting an abundance of sea life.

In the Gulf of Eilat, in Israel's far south, scientists are studying why Israel's corals are proving to be more resilient to ocean warming that elsewhere in the world. The genetic reasons for their ability to survive the effects of global warming could be used to save and rehabilitate other reefs around the world.

The other month, the Aquarium rescued corals from the Red Sea that had been dislodged by construction work in the area and we were able to successfully integrate them into our coral tank. 

Corals are living organisms and it takes time for the interaction between the corals to reach a balance and some ten years for them to grow fully.

The Coral "safe" at the Aquarium allows us to educate the public about ocean conservation and to preserve these precious corals for future generations.

The new corals
The new corals
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Visitors enjoying the re-opened Aquarium
Visitors enjoying the re-opened Aquarium

The Aquarium (and the Zoo) were closed to visitors during the three lockdowns in Israel in March-May, in September-October and again at the end of the year with a third lockdown that started on December 28, 2020.

Overall, there were a total of 119 days of complete closure in the 2020 calendar year.

Happily, the Aquarium was able to re-open on February 21, with limited entries.

This all, of course, has been a devastating blow to our operating budget, being nearly a third of the year with no income. Our expenses remain high, we have fish to care for and exhibitions to maintain. We have made significant efforts to reduce costs as much as possible without compromising on the quality of the services we offer.

As a result of the lockdowns, many of our suppliers were unable to operate due to worldwide travel restrictions.

With the resumption of international flights during the time between lockdowns, we were able to restart our efforts to complete our zoological collection, especially in Tank 15: the Large Red Sea.

In December 2020, one of the first shipments we received was the much awaited blue blubber jellies from Hong Kong to fill the three renovated round tanks.

A huge crowd-pleaser, the jellyfish exhibition also gives us the opportunity to educate our visitors about the dangers of pollution in our oceans: for example, when larger fish confuse plastics and plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them.

The new jellies
The new jellies
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Organization Information

The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem

Location: Jerusalem, Israel - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @BiblicalZoo
Project Leader:
Nicole Wexler
Jerusalem, Israel
$104,548 raised of $150,000 goal
 
369 donations
$45,452 to go
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