Conservation

Conservation

OUR BLUE PLANET

There was a time, not long ago, when people would seek sources like our website and be surprised to learn about the challenge’s species, habitats, and ecosystems within our blue planet are facing.  Today, because this information has been disseminated in so many ways around the world, people are already aware of most of these challenges but often feel like the situation is hopeless or that there is little they personally can do.  This belief is simply not correct – there’s always a solution! 

Humans, just like threatened species, habitats and ecosystems are resilient and there are many conservation successes out there to celebrate!  The underlying factors contributing to these accomplishments however, almost always include collaboration and innovation. Big solutions require partnerships between scientists, topical specialists, technology experts, governmental agencies, business and industry, and the community - everyone plays a critical role in conservation! The Florida Aquarium is working to protect and restore our blue planet on many conservation fronts using this philosophy.

OUR COMMITMENT

The Florida Aquarium is committed to using a science-based, impact-driven approach to address key conservation issues.  We strategically focus on conservation initiatives that amplify our expertise, leverage and promote our partnerships and maximize our ability to successfully protect and restore our blue planet.

OUR CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

The Florida Aquarium currently leads three comprehensive Conservation Programs.   Each Program is focused on a specific taxon and is aligned with our Aquarium’s expertise. 

 

Coral Conservation Program

Coral reefs play a critically important role in the health of our planet’s marine ecosystems. The Florida Aquarium dedicated to caring for threatened species of coral and leading critical initiatives that facilitate our ability to restore the Florida Reef Tract.  Our team of coral experts have made several ground-breaking and globally recognized advancements that facilitate our ability to increase the genetic diversity of coral offspring, improve coral care and husbandry techniques, and scale up coral propagation rates. 

 

Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Sea turtles are important keystone species that help maintain healthy seagrass and coral reef ecosystems. The Florida Aquarium is dedicated to treating sick or injured sea turtles and if possible, releasing them back to their natural habitat.  In 2019, we opened our state-of-the-art Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center, located at our Center for Conservation campus.  In the first year alone, the Florida Aquarium Animal Response Team has taken care of 21 sick or injured sea turtles!

 

Shark & Ray Conservation Program

Sharks and rays, known as elasmobranchs, are essential top-down managers of marine ecosystems. The Florida Aquarium is involved with several cutting-edge elasmobranch reproduction research projects, specifically with bamboo sharks, sand tiger sharks, and southern stingrays.  We are also in the process of developing a more comprehensive Shark and Ray Conservation Program. More to come!

 

OUR CONSERVATION PRIORITIES

The Florida Aquarium has also prioritized several critical conservation areas of focus that align well with our expertise and advance our Mission.  Each Priority is aligned across different departments and activities often include public engagement, community service, and environmental stewardship.  Aquarium staff believe in ‘living’ our Mission and commit to participating in multiple Priority-based activities annually.  

 

Animal Health and Welfare

Because many animals now live in some level of protected care ranging from large reserves, National Parks, and Marine Sanctuaries to accredited aquariums and zoos, understanding and meeting their health and welfare needs is of utmost importance.  The Florida Aquarium is committed to assuring the health and wellbeing of the animals in its care and is involved in numerous related research projects.  Our team also believes in sharing its skills and expertise with those in need around the world and provides assistance to many animal health and welfare related issues beyond our Aquarium walls. 

 

Habitat Restoration

 Because many terrestrial and aquatic habitats have been diminished or even destroyed, restoration efforts are required if we are to maintain or regain a functional abundance and distribution of species. The Florida Aquarium is committed to creating healthy mangrove and pollinator habitats for wildlife on its properties including our main Aquarium campus, our Center for Conservation campus, and Fantasy Island.  Our team also believes it is imperative that we protect habitats within our community and organizes many public restoration projects each year.

 

Reduction of Single-Use Plastics

Because microplastics are now found in beverages and food, and plastic waste is harming wildlife and wild places at record levels, the consumption of single-use plastics must be significantly reduced.  The Florida Aquarium is committed to studying how microplastics are impacting our rescued sea turtles and in reducing the use, purchase, or resale of single-use plastics across our properties.  Our team also believes that the solution to this issue requires everyone’s help provides our guests opportunities to learn about and take steps that will reduce their consumption of single-use plastics and leads several plastic mitigation campaigns within our community.

 

Sustainable Business and Operational Practices

Because much of the world’s business and operational practices unnecessarily contribute to environmentally damaging outcomes, organizations need to adjust their practices to reduce these impacts as much as possible.   The Florida Aquarium is committed to maximizing its “blue” business and operational practices to assure our processes, products, and activities address current environmental and social responsibility concerns.  Our team also believes it is important to partner with companies who are striving to implement more sustainable business and operational practices.

 

PROUD PARTNERS

The Florida Aquarium’s Conservation Programs and Priorities cannot be accomplished alone and we are proud to partner with our community, local, national and international government agencies, universities, non-profit organizations and businesses.  Learn more about our Partners on the specific Conservation Program Pages.

 

COLLABORATIVE CONSERVATION

Financial support for the important conservation work being done by the Florida Aquarium is provided in great part by our guest’s admission fees - YOUR VISIT THE AQUARIUM MATTERS!  Other financial support is garnered from the generosity of individual and corporate donors and grant awards.  Your support is greatly appreciated and makes a difference in the lives of animals!