Poema del Mar y el Club Baloncesto Gran Canaria renuevan colaboración 2

This morning, Tuesday 28 September, the Basketball Club Gran Canaria team visited the Poema del Mar facilities to present the continuity of its sponsorship.

Thus, the aquarium, inaugurated in 2017 and one of the most spectacular in the world, reinforces its commitment to sport, through which it promotes leisure, culture and healthy living on the island of Gran Canaria, and confirms that it will continue to be part of the family of this historic club.

Poema del Mar y el Club Baloncesto Gran Canaria renuevan colaboración 3

The players were given a guided tour by Christoph Kiessling, vice-president of the Loro Parque Company. During the tour, Kiessling explained the great work that Poema del Mar does on a daily basis to become a reference centre for the conservation of species.

In fact, many of the species housed in its facilities are on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are under some degree of vulnerability or endangered in the natural environment.

Poema del Mar y el Club Baloncesto Gran Canaria renuevan colaboración 4 CROP

In this sense, Poema del Mar also carries out important educational work by organising activities for schools in Gran Canaria, as well as for families and different social groups, in order to make them aware of the important work carried out by these centres in the archipelago, just as the Aquarium does through its conservation tool, the Loro Parque Fundación, thanks to which it has become a reference in the field of marine science in the islands.

Poema del Mar y el Club Baloncesto Gran Canaria renuevan colaboración 1

Una tortuga encontrada en estado crítico se recupera en Poema del Mar antes de ser devuelta al mar 2

A turtle found in critical condition is recovering at Poema del Mar before being returned to the sea. Recently, this large specimen, weighing more than 70 kilos, was transferred from the medical area of the aquarium to the Deep Sea exhibition, where it will remain until it can be released.

During the transfer, Luis Ibarra, president of the Port Authority of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Pascual Calabuig, veterinarian of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, accompanied the Poema del Mar staff.

This loggerhead turtle was found in the southern part of Gran Canaria in a critical condition and covered in leeches. After being rescued and cured by the Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre de Taliarte (Wildlife Recovery Centre of Taliarte), Poema del Mar took the turtle into its facilities in order to prepare it for reintroduction into the ocean.

Una tortuga encontrada en estado crítico se recupera en Poema del Mar antes de ser devuelta al mar 6

For a period of two weeks, the turtle has been cared for by the aquarium staff, has been eating at the surface and has been strengthening and preparing to spend the rest of her stay at Deep Sea, where she will live with numerous species that are common in her natural environment and which she will encounter when she returns to the sea.

Thus, all those who visit Poema del Mar in the coming weeks will be able to see it up close and learn about its history, in addition to learning about the situation of the species in the wild, something that will undoubtedly contribute to its protection. The Caretta caretta is classified as vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Una tortuga encontrada en estado crítico se recupera en Poema del Mar antes de ser devuelta al mar 5

Martín Zordan CEO de WAZA visita Poema del Mar 1 low

Poema del Mar welcomed this week Martín Zordan, CEO of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), of which the Aquarium has been a member since May this year.

The director of WAZA enjoyed the aquatic world in all its glory, now that Poema del Mar is open every day of the year again, after the great welcome received from visitors since its reopening a few months ago.

During his visit, he highlighted the great work at protecting and conserving species that the Aquarium has been carrying out since it first opened back in 2017, as well as its conception of animal welfare as a top priority. "This visit exceeded my expectations, it was very inspiring to see the dedication of the team!", he said.

Martín Zordan CEO de WAZA visita Poema del Mar 2 low

Poema del Mar as never seen before

From the beginning of 2020, despite the closure and in the midst of the pandemic, the Aquarium has continued to receive good news and the team has experienced unforgettable moments. A good example is that, during this time, Poema del Mar became the first aquarium in Europe to succeed in reproducing the common sea dragon, an enormously sensitive and vulnerable species, which is also very difficult to breed under human care. In its facilities there have also been born specimens of seahorses, dogfish, stingrays and bamboo sharks and other species.

In addition, there is now a new video guide available, a system that does not only allow visitors to enjoy a personalised guided tour, but also contains information on the more than 450 species that live in the aquarium in video format, exponentially enhancing the visitor's experience.

About WAZA

WAZA is the global alliance of regional and national associations, zoos and aquariums dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats worldwide. With more than

400 members, WAZA promotes cooperation among them, as well as with leading wildlife experts, academies and universities. In addition, it supports species conservation management and humane animal husbandry, while promoting the highest standards of welfare and quality in member institutions.

acuario poema del mar amplía horario 1

After the great reception received from its visitors since its reopening in May, the Poema del Mar aquarium has announced that it will be open again from Monday to Sunday from 9:30 to 17:30, every day of the week, starting tomorrow, Thursday 22nd July. Full details of the current operation of the facilities and safety measures can be consulted on its website.

In this sense, all the sanitary measures are guaranteed so that the experience is not only exciting, but also completely safe. The use of masks will be compulsory and the capacity will be controlled in the different areas, which will also be continuously disinfected. In addition, hydroalcoholic gel will be available to customers throughout the tour.

acuario poema del mar amplía horario 2

Since its reopening, visitors have been able to enjoy a more complete experience than ever before thanks to new exhibits, such as the bamboo shark egg incubator, where you can see perfectly how the embryos are still developing inside the egg. Also impressive is a brand-new collection of nine fossil replicas, which will amaze visitors of all ages.

Another great novelty is a new video guide, a system that not only allows visitors to enjoy a personalised guided tour, but also contains information on the more than 450 species that live in the aquarium in video format, making the visitor's experience even greater.

acuario poema del mar amplía horario 3

You can also learn about the research and conservation work carried out at the aquarium. "We are constantly involved in work with animals in the natural environment thanks to the knowledge we gain from working with animals under human care," says Patricia Campos, technical director of Poema del Mar. She adds that their mission is "to try to apply this knowledge in nature".

Security measures can be consulted at this link: https://www.poema-del-mar.com/medidas-de-seguridad-nuevas-es

Tickets can be purchased at: https://ticket.poema-del-mar.com/

acuario poema del mar amplía horario 4

acuario poema del mar amplía horario 5

día mundial de los oceános poema del mar 01

This morning, Tuesday 8 June 2021, coinciding with the celebration of World Oceans Day, scientists and institutions have called for the protection of the oceans and the sustainable use of resources from the large Poema del Mar aquarium in Gran Canaria. The event, organised by Loro Parque Fundación and the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), was attended by the two Canarian universities and the deputy minister for the Fight against Climate Change of the Government of the Canary Islands.

This event takes place within the framework of the United Nations Decade for the Oceans, and seeks to promote a movement of institutions and citizens for ocean protection as well as to inform about the impact of human beings on the environment, and to mobilise and unite the world's population in a project for the sustainable management of the oceans.

Dr. Javier Almunia, director of the Loro Parque Fundación, welcomed the audience, highlighting the need to protect marine resources and the commitment that his Foundation has maintained with the oceans for more than two decades. "We took over from Loro Parque", he explained, which pioneered research work in this field in the 1980s "to try to create a cetacean sanctuary in Macaronesia at a time when whales were still being hunted in the area". "Today, we have other problems such as plastic pollution, overfishing, noise pollution... and there is still a need for protection for marine mammals backed by international organisations," he said.

día mundial de los oceános poema del mar 02

For his part, Joaquín Hernández, director of PLOCAN, explained that the marine environment is a vital support for human beings and wanted to draw attention to the state it is in today: "natural balances are threatened, the health of the oceans is getting worse, and we have to reverse processes such as pollution, climate change and overexploitation of resources," he said. To achieve this, he said, the Canary Islands must promote observation and research, something that PLOCAN works on every day, to better understand the environment, observe its changes and mitigate the effects of the factors that threaten its balance.

Both Luis Serra, rector of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Ernesto Pereda, vice-rector of Research at the University of La Laguna, emphasised the strong link that both Canarian educational institutions have with the sea and the importance of continuing research through projects such as CanBIO, co-financed by Loro Parque and the Government of the Canary Islands, to understand the effects of climate change and to be able to propose measures for its protection and recovery. Pereda, who could not be present at the event and joined via telephone, wanted to highlight the incomparable setting in which the event was being held, the impressive Deep Sea of Poema del Mar.

Finally, Miguel Ángel Pérez, Deputy Minister for the Fight against Climate Change of the Government of the Canary Islands, wanted to highlight the great biological wealth of the waters of the archipelago, a biodiversity that must be protected, he said. "We must move from a model of extraction to a model of sustainability in resources, and it is in the hands of places like Poema del Mar to make us aware that the future of our generations depends on what we do today," he concluded.

All the participants wanted to congratulate Loro Parque Fundación and PLOCAN for the initiative, which has served to strengthen the ties and synergies between the different parties working and developing R+D+I for the preservation, conservation, recovery and sustainable use of the oceans.

poema del mar deep sea 1

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, WAZA, has recently announced that Poema del Mar is one of its new members. This news comes shortly after the reopening of the aquarium after more than 13 months of closure and is a recognition of the great work of protection and conservation of species carried out since its opening in 2017, as well as its conception of animal welfare as a top priority.

Loro Parque is also a member of this global organisation, which, in fact, will host its annual congress in 2022 at the park's facilities.

About WAZA

WAZA is the global alliance of regional and national associations, zoos and aquariums dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats worldwide. With more than 400 members, WAZA promotes cooperation among them, as well as with leading wildlife experts, academies and universities. In addition, it supports species conservation management and humane animal husbandry, while promoting the highest standards of welfare and quality in member institutions.

apertura PDM 1

This morning, Friday 23 April, and following Loro Parque's announcement yesterday, the large Poema del Mar aquarium has announced that it will also reopen its doors next Saturday, 1 May, after more than 13 months of forced closure due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19. This was announced at a press conference by Christoph Kiessling, Vice President of the Company.

"The situation has not improved in a recognisable way, but we see that it is more important that we open and that we give a boost to the island's economy, and we hope that this is the right decision," said Kiessling. He also stressed that this commitment has been accompanied by "an effort" by the company, both to continue paying the running costs of its facilities while continuing to finance nature conservation projects through its foundation, which will allocate more than one million euros this year, and also to invest in innovations to which it has dedicated more than 200,000 euros.

During the visits, all sanitary measures are guaranteed to ensure that the experience is not only exciting, but also completely safe. The use of masks will be mandatory and capacity will be controlled in the different areas, which will also be continuously disinfected. In addition, hydroalcoholic gel will be available to customers at various points along the tour.

Throughout these more than 13 months, the aquarium has wanted to reach each of its followers at home through the social networks. Among a wide variety of content, Poema del Mar has shared numerous live videos, reports with the animal keepers as protagonists, and has continued to share the day-to-day life of the animals with interesting and curious photos and videos.

In fact, despite the closure and the bad news, in the midst of the pandemic, the aquarium has continued to experience good news and the team has lived unforgettable moments. A good example is that, during this time, Poema del Mar became the first aquarium to succeed inreproducing an enormously sensitive and vulnerable species, which is also very difficult to breed under human care - the common sea dragon. And its facilities have also given birth to seahorses, dogfish sharks, stingrays and bamboo sharks, among other species.

apertura PDM 2

To make the Poema del Mar experience even more complete, new exhibits have been added, such as the bamboo shark egg incubator, where you can see perfectly how the embryos are still developing inside the egg. Also impressive is a novel collection of nine fossil replicas, which will fascinate visitors of all ages.

Another great novelty is a new video guide, a system that will not only allow visitors to enjoy a personalised guided tour, but will also contain information on the more than 450 species that live in the aquarium in video format, exponentially expanding the visitor's experience.

The research and conservation work carried out at the aquarium has also continued. "We are constantly involved in work with animals in their natural environment thanks to the knowledge we have of the animals under human care," says Patricia Campos, technical director of Poema del Mar. She adds that her mission is "to try to ensure that this knowledge can be applied in nature".

From the opening date, the Company will allow the use of all tickets that were purchased before the state of emergency was declared, to which it has granted indefinite validity, and will further extend the validity of all annual cards.

apertura PDM 3

On 15 March 2020, the famous Loro Parque Zoo in Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife) closed its doors to the public for the first time since its opening on 17 December 1972. In its almost 50-year history, this well-known “animal embassy” had never closed and operated 365 days a year.

Considered to be the best zoo in the world, Loro Parque is the personal work of the entrepreneur Wolfgang Kiessling who, at the age of 83, is still “at the helm” of the Loro Parque Company as president, together with his son Christoph Kiessling, who is now vice-president. Coinciding with the sad reality of being closed to the public for a year, Wolfgang Kiessling gave the following interview in which he reviews the overall situation and looks to the future with hope.

Quietly sitting on the terrace of his permanent home in the heart of Loro Parque, Wolfgang Kiessling welcomes us with a mask on and now fully recovered from the COVID, which has also kept him on sick leave for almost three weeks. Fortunately, as he himself admits, with moderate symptoms that he has now left behind. It has been three weeks for him to reflect a lot, review the situation and think about the future.

For a man who has passed the coronavirus and at 83 years of age, always active, I see you serene and surrounded by your great work, the Loro Parque, which you yourself founded almost 50 years ago and which has now been closed for a year?

I’m not sure if I’m fully recovered, but I’ve been released and I feel very well. I want to go on and, above all, I want Loro Parque in Tenerife and the Poema del Mar aquarium in Gran Canaria to be able to reopen their doors and welcome the public. It has been very hard to see how these two great zoos, the Siam Park in the south of Tenerife, as well as our Hotel Botánico and Brunelli’s Steakhouse restaurant, both in Puerto de la Cruz, have had to remain closed. The most important thing is to know that, during all this time and as always, the animals have been perfectly cared for, with all the care that each one requires, with the total professionalism of the people who work with us, but, above all, with a lot of affection. My greatest wish is to continue transmitting and demonstrating to everyone the best information about Loro Parque and the certainty that here the animals do not suffer, but that their life is peaceful and happy. Some animalists and anti-zoo activists say that animals suffer in zoos, but this accusation is as false as it is unfair. Loro Parque is a well-managed zoo. At Loro Parque, all the professionals who work there are animal lovers and they are the first ones interested in making sure that their beloved animals, who they care for and who are under their supervision, are well and feel well. In our facilities, the wild animal, the exotic animal, has a refuge where its rights and interests are defended”.

Lately we have witnessed large fires around the world, affecting a large number of animal species.

It is incomprehensible that in the year 2021 we do not remember what happened in 2020, a year in which millions of hectares of forests, jungles and nature were affected by serious fires in the Amazon, in Africa, Indonesia and Australia. Thousands of species have been affected and millions of animals have been killed by fire. That is why we do not understand those activists who are against the only institutions in the world, which, like Loro Parque, defend the welfare of animals. In our case, we have just returned two more new Lear’s Macaws to La Catinga (Brazil). First of all, La Catinga sent us 4 Lear’s Macaws whose species was on the verge of extinction. After a lot of hard work and dedication, thanks to Loro Parque Fundación and the Loro Parque team, we have now bred more than 40 birds, and have returned a total of 8 to La Catinga, where they are now flying freely in their natural environment. This is a huge success. Similarly, vultures are being bred and released in Italy and Croatia. There is an impressive international movement to save species, breed them properly and then release, reintroduce and return them to their natural environment. However, this is not talked much about, just the bad things that some people think are happening.

I understand that the old idea of zoos has changed radically and nowadays is totally obsolete… You keep on breeding and giving life…

Nowadays all the great zoos of the world, such as, of course, both the Loro Parque in Tenerife and the Poema del Mar in Gran Canaria, are centres for the conservation of biodiversity, true embassies of the animal kingdom, where life is given, bred and recovered. The activists are… employees. They are ordinary people whose job is to harm zoos. Many of them are paid workers for organisations like M.C.O., which is subordinate to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which in the United States alone receives more than $60 million in donations. Of that, only about $700,000 is given to the animals, but the rest goes to lawyers, salaries, rent, etc. The activists aim to eliminate all animals from all zoos. Consequently, for them, an animal that is born in a zoo is an animal that should not be born. But breeding is one of the animal’s rights and is protected by the European Zoos Directive. Loro Parque has in its five principles the right to breed animals. Recent news is that we have reintroduced two more Lear’s Macaws to their habitat in Brazil and 20 red-masked parakeets in Ecuador, but it must be said that without the help of Loro Parque, 10 species of parrots, including the Lear’s Macaw (Brazil), the grey-breasted parakeet (Brazil) and the yellow-eared conure (Colombia), would have been lost to the world and, of course, without our help, the orca Morgan would have died. We work for animal life and, based on this, we approach the care of all animals: with love, dedication, comprehension, involvement and the utmost professionalism.

What could they do, what should authorities at local, island, regional, even state level, do to help Loro Parque?

At the moment we have excellent relations with all the public administrations and those in charge of them. The most important thing would be to be sure for the coming years that a possible political change would not affect our situation, that our politicians in the Canary Islands would not enter into the dynamic of considering the removal of dolphins, orcas or gorillas. We have to understand that activists are using certain animals in each case to go against zoos: in some cases, it is for the dolphins, in others for the orangutans, or for the bears. In our case, Loro Parque is being attacked for its orcas. Every important zoo has to bear its “cross” and they are always paid activists, who earn well and are paid for this, who travel in good conditions and who have lawyers “á gogo”, they make life very difficult for us and do not contribute anything positive to society. That’s why we need more… We need all the real information to reach our people and we need people to pass it on in a positive way to others.

In 2022, Loro Parque will celebrate its 50th anniversary. It is currently the second most visited attraction in Tenerife, after the “father” Teide… and it all started with only 25 people and 150 parrots…

Indeed, so it was… Today, in total, Loro Parque and Poema del Mar professionally care for and look after around 40,000 animals with care, dedication and a lot of love, and these 40,000 animals serve as “ambassadors” for their fellow animals in the wild. At present, the entire Loro Parque company generates around 1,000 direct jobs and approximately 10,000 indirect jobs. Just the two companies Loro Parque and Poema del Mar provide around 500 direct jobs. We have calculated that the repercussion of all this means that around 1,230 companies in the Canary Islands have a workload thanks to the Loro Parque company. The aquatic mammals alone (dolphins, sea lions and orcas) eat 1,000 kilos of fish every day. In addition, in case of any possible contingency, we always keep a three-month stock of food for all the animals.

Knowing all this, one can imagine what is behind Loro Parque and Poema del Mar, what it costs to maintain them and all the work that is involved in caring for and defending these animals?

Look, a long time ago, until 1992, I had a small boat and I used to go fishing at weekends. You have no idea, but since the first aquarium was installed in Loro Parque, I stopped fishing almost immediately, because you get to like and love the fish. And this is what a park like ours does. Loro Parque provokes love and sympathy between the animals and the visitors thanks to their movements, their smell, their expressions and the sensations and feelings they transmit with their faces and bodies. I always say that those who criticise the zoo today should look back on the visits they made as a child, accompanied by their parents or grandparents to a zoo, and then one can see how much sympathy they have for the animals. It is impressive to see a child give a banana to an elephant and see how the elephant with its trunk carefully takes the banana from the child’s little hand. It creates understanding, friendship and affection.

In addition, Loro Parque and its professionals, through the Loro Parque Fundación, have spent years developing conservation projects all over the world, which have maintained, even with the doors closed and without visitors

Indeed, we have the Loro Parque Fundación, a non-profit organisation that we founded in 1994 and to which we have donated more than 23 million dollars to develop more than 200 conservation projects on 5 continents. This past year and more than ever, despite the pandemic and being closed to the public, Loro Parque has donated a record annual amount of 1.3 million dollars to the Foundation to continue its work. We currently have 53 active projects in many countries around the world, not forgetting the Canary Islands, where, for example, the CanBIO project, co-financed by the Government of the Canary Islands, in collaboration with the two Canary Islands universities, Loro Parque and Poema del Mar, is still ongoing. The aim of CanBIO is to study, research and control climate change, the increase in noise and pollution in the sea around our islands, with the idea of extending the project to the whole of Macaronesia in the near future.

Perhaps it was after the arrival of the dolphins at Loro Parque that this idea for the Loro Parque Fundación was born…

That was in 1987 and a year later we were visited by a group of young English students, who came to the Canary Islands to observe the cetaceans in the south of Tenerife. At the same time, the researcher Petra Deimer, the greatest international cetacean advocate and advisor to the German government, came and joined us from Germany. She visited our facilities and said in front of the media that ‘if all dolphins were kept and cared for like in Loro Parque, I would live in peace’. She pointed out to me in 1988 that the Canary Islands should be declared a protected area for aquatic mammals, and extended this area from the Azores to the Cape Verde Islands. She wanted the whole of Macaronesia to be declared a great sanctuary of protection for them, and I took up that idea and took it to many authorities, but in the end, nobody listened to me. It was a first and great “green idea” for the protection of our seas in the 80s and 90s, which, in fact, was already a reality and already had all the protection, because here, no Canarian fisherman fishes dolphins or whales. We are still waiting for this declaration to be officially declared in an agreement, signed by all the governments involved. Imagine if Macaronesia were declared as such. No fishing company would be able to hunt marine mammals in these waters and it would be a unique area in the world and a special attraction for scientists and animal-loving tourists.

Finally, I have heard, and I think it is remarkable, that Loro Parque is the first zoo in the world that is energetically self-sufficient?

Indeed, all the electricity we use is being produced by us from renewable and clean energy systems, such as the wind turbine we have at the Salinetas wind farm in Telde (Gran Canaria) or the photovoltaic panels we have at our other installations. We produce around 9 megawatts/hour, more than our parks need. Our idea and our goal are for the entire Loro Parque Company to be totally self-sufficient and have zero emissions.

We talk about what the public administrations and responsible politicians, the authorities, should do, but… what can the public, the visitors to Loro Parque, locals or foreigners, do?

We have not stopped working professionally, taking care of and pampering all our animals during the past year in which we have been closed. The only thing we wish and hope now is to open very soon, as soon as possible, and to meet again with our visitors from the Canary Islands, from all over Spain and abroad. We would like them to visit us and help us to get out of this hard, costly and sad phase. And we would like all our visitors, but especially the local people, to feel proud of Loro Parque and Poema del Mar. They could help us by reading all our information brochures and learning about our true and happy reality and pass it on. And in order to fight against the anti-zoo activists, it would be a great help and an honour for us if they would become our best ambassadors, both for Loro Parque and Poema del Mar. Together, they could create a huge network to transmit positive information and not negative messages”.

Last but not least. Despite the pandemic and being closed, life has gone on at Loro Parque and Poema del Mar, but when will they reopen?

We have not stopped working and continue to take professional care of our animals. We are eager to open and welcome our visitors and friends, but we will do so only when it is safe to do so. We are currently only welcoming visits from limited groups on what we have called the ‘Exclusive Day Tour’, an initiative whereby you can visit the Park behind closed doors in small groups, accompanied by a guide, and enjoy a delicious lunch at Brunelli’s Steakhouse restaurant. This option continues to be available from Thursday to Monday from 10:00 to 17:15. The Loro Parque Company, with our two animal embassies, Loro Parque and Poema del Mar, as well as Siam Park, the Hotel Botánico and Brunelli’s Steakhouse restaurant, we continue collaborating so that Tenerife and the Canary Islands remain the best tourist destination in Europe and one of the best in the world.

Source: https://tribunadecanarias.es/descargas/Entrevista-Patricia-Campos-Tribuna_Noviembre_2020.pdf

It has been a complicated year, the entire Loro Parque group, including Poema del Mar, has had to close its doors to safeguard the health of visitors and workers. How have you experienced these long months inside the aquarium?

Indeed, to safeguard the health of workers and visitors, Poema del Mar was forced to close its doors on 15 March, as was the case with the rest of the group's facilities. It has been, it is and it will be a very difficult period, above all because it is a pity that we cannot open our doors to a public that is eager to see our animals again.

However, for the whole team of biologists in charge of the direct care of the animals and for the technical team in charge of the maintenance of the facilities, there has been no change in routine since, evidently, the fish and the animals do not know about this situation, but require their care and attention 365 days a year, whatever happens.

It is good for us that life goes on. Because we are lucky that our work remains the same, that we can continue to see our animals healthy and that we even participate in events that are an achievement for science and biology, such as the birth of the leafy sea dragons.

For the company's president, Mr Kiessling, the health of the animals comes first. He has made that clear since the beginning of the pandemic by ensuring food and making sure we all stay healthy so we can continue to care for the animals. The sad side of all this is that we cannot open to the public at the moment.


One of the things that most worried the regular visitors was that the marine world they have in Poema del Mar was in perfect condition, something that is assured since they have not stopped working at any time. Is that true?

Indeed, we have not stopped. It is funny to meet friends and family who say that they have faced this time of pandemic with confinement included, since we have not had a single day of confinement, we have not stopped going to work while there was no one on the streets.

We have experienced this situation from a totally different perspective.

 

There is no doubt that Poema del Mar is a wonderful experience that brings the marine world closer to all those who want to see it up close, but we cannot forget the great work of conservation and research that is done here. Perhaps this is one of the most important parts, more so for you who are the technical director and curator...

This is undoubtedly intrinsic to our work, i.e. an important part of our work consists of understanding the biology of each species and its conservation, and we must also try to ensure that this knowledge can be applied in the natural environment. It is part of our work that what is learned with the animals in captivity is then used to help us take care of them in the wild, which is a very important task.

In fact, we are constantly involved in work with animals in nature thanks to the knowledge we have of the animals under human care.

 

You also do a great job of education and raising awareness with children which is very important. What can you tell us about this?

Yes, for 2020 all places for schools on the island were fully booked, because we like to share with them, with their enthusiasm and their capacity to surprise. It is important to share with the new generations what we enjoy and what we consider to be the basis for the care of our planet.

 

What do visitors find when they go to Poema del Mar?

Our tour is a journey of life connected to the element of water, starting with a trip through the area of South America, going through the jungles, different freshwater courses and how that fresh water leads to and ends up in the oceans. It is a journey in which we accompany the water in its natural cycle.

It is a little bit the perspective of the different ecosystems, all connected to water.


What kind of unique and rare species can be found in Poema del Mar?

There are numerous species, it is worth noting that in Poema del Mar we have more than 450 species of animals, with 30,000 living beings no more and no less, which we look after every day.

We have many peculiar species, recently the sea dragons have taken much prominence, as they are an endemic species of Australia that requires very special care, because they are very delicate animals. I highlight the presence of this species but I could name many others of fresh water, for example, we have chameleons, land turtles, different species of amphibians, seahorses, fish characteristic for their camouflage or for their poison...

There is a wide variety of interesting animals to see in Poema del Mar.

 

Poema del Mar is the first European aquarium capable of reproducing the Australian sea dragon, as we have mentioned, but what added value does this give the aquarium?

For one thing, it is a faithful reflection of the daily work we do. The care of these animals is very specific, they require a special type of food to be given daily, live food, for example. Any modification, however slight, to the quality of the water or stress caused by taking flash photos or knocking on the acrylic can be very disturbing for them. Sometimes the visitor may not be aware of this.

They are also animals that require veterinary care. If we detect any symptoms that the animal is not well, we proceed to a check-up.

This is a task that we carry out as a team, from the person who looks after the water, through the person who provides the specific food, to the veterinarian.

 

I imagine that in order to take care of such delicate species and countless animals it is necessary for the whole team to have extraordinary training. In that, to put it colloquially, you "go the extra mile", don't you?

Exactly, the truth is that our profession requires a lot of knowledge but I would say that the experience that has accompanied me throughout these years has given me passion in our work. There must be passion in this work because in the end you are sacrificing a lot of time. When people don't go to work, we must go, when an animal gets sick, we must stay with it, like a mother does with her child. Knowledge is acquired with training and experience, we can train a person who doesn't know about jellyfish, but the passionate side has to come intrinsic to the person.

 

From your point of view as a specialist, what distinguishes Poema del Mar from other aquariums in Europe or the world? What is so special about it?

The truth is that this is a tour on 12,000 square meters, in a very peculiar building from an architectural point of view, in which the wonder of nature is represented, despite being inside, from the jungle to the ocean.

We have the largest curved window in an aquarium in the world, called acrylic. This makes Poema del Mar unique. We have over five million litres of salt water in our main tank, where numerous species of sharks and rays live.

We provide the amazing opportunity to enjoy numerous species from the Indian Ocean, the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Red Sea. In addition to animals of other species such as reptiles and amphibians.

 

Do you have any interesting projects you are working on now or in the medium term?

Yes, the truth is that we try to innovate. I cannot reveal much about what we are doing but I can comment that, from animal life, we know that it did not start with the animals that we have among us today but that prehistorically there were other animals that inhabited the earth and Poema del Mar wanted to take a step back in the history of biology.

We are going to present how the animals that we have today among us have evolved from the evolution of past species. This is a project we are working on today.

 

To conclude, are you looking forward to receiving thousands of smiles again in your facilities?

We really look forward to it and miss being able to share the wonders we have in our aquariums with the people who visit us. We are looking forward to opening the doors again when the situation allows us to do so.

At the annual meeting of the advisory committee of the Loro Parque Fundación held in Puerto de la Cruz, it was decided to dedicate almost 1.3 million dollars to 53 nature conservation projects to be carried out over the next year on the five continents. With this commitment, the total amount that Loro Parque Fundación has dedicated to nature conservation will amount to 22.8 million dollars.

This year, the projects in Europe, especially in the Canary Islands and the rest of Macaronesia (Cape Verde, Madeira and the Azores) are the main focus, they will receive almost half of the funding (more than 585,000 dollars). Next are the projects focusing on the threatened species and ecosystems of the Americas, they will receive 34% of the funding this year (more than 440,000 dollars). Also, noteworthy this year is funding for nature conservation in Africa, which amounts to almost $170,000. Asia, with almost $60,000, and Australia and Oceania, with $33,000, will receive the remaining part of the funding, which will be distributed among the five continents and among 53 conservation and research projects to be implemented by 32 NGOs and universities around the world.

By country, Spain stands out with $527,000, followed by Brazil with over $130,000 and Ecuador with $93,000. But the list of countries is much longer, and this year the Foundation will also carry out projects in Australia, Belize, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, French Polynesia, Senegal, Thailand, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Some of these projects are transnational, so their benefits will reach the ecosystems and threatened species of many other neighbouring countries.

From an ecological point of view, terrestrial species and ecosystems are the ones that will receive most of the aid from the Loro Parque Foundation (over $827,000), including the protection of one of the best-preserved lion populations in all of Africa in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, which will receive $53,000. Another very prominent species is the Philippine cockatoo (critically endangered on the IUCN red list). The project will receive more than $39,000 to continue securing the populations

on Rasa Island and try to extend the reproductive success achieved in that area to other places in the region. Other notable species and terrestrial ecosystem projects are aimed at protecting the blue-throated macaw in Bolivia, the yellow eared parrot in Colombia and Ecuador, or the hyacinth macaw in Brazil or Bolivia.

But we must not forget the effort in the conservation of marine species and ecosystems, to which the Loro Parque Fundación will dedicate more than $460,000 next year. Of these, more than two thirds will be dedicated to the CanBIO project, co-financed by the Canary Islands Government, which began in 2019 and which in a few weeks will complete its network for controlling climate change at sea, with the installation of a scientific buoy in El Hierro. From 2021, autonomous marine vehicles will be deployed to carry out measures throughout the archipelago, and in 2022 they will be extended to the whole of Macaronesia. CanBIO’s actions also include the conservation of critically endangered species, such as the angel shark and the butterfly ray.

The remaining funding for marine projects will be devoted to the conservation of several cetacean species, including the Atlantic humpback dolphin in the Saloum delta (Senegal). IUCN experts consider this species to be critically endangered, and it could disappear in a few years if urgent action is not taken to protect it.

The Poema del Mar Aquarium in Gran Canaria is a centre of scientific interest because it is the first centre in Europe to have succeeded in breeding 24 sea dragons, a special Australian species, born in April and July this year. This event is of great importance for research and science.

As was reported in good time, 24 sea dragons from two different clutches of this species, a related species to seahorses, were born in the aquarium's facilities, thanks to the care of experts and the excellent facilities available to them.

The aquarium is still closed due to the sanitary regulations due to Covid-19 and experienced the first eggs on April 28 with the birth of the babies last June and the second on July 21. Although they are currently only a few centimetres in size, they are growing up quickly in their new home.

Sea dragons are particularly sensitive to pollution of the sea, the presence of micro-plastics in the waters and the increase in temperature resulting from global warming, as they live in very specific conditions and in a small habitat whose destruction would have fatal consequences.

These animals live in a very specific area of southern Australia and require very specific conditions in terms of temperature, habitat, food and sensitivity. Sea dragons are very sensitive to changes, to light, noise and vibrations, which can affect them considerably.

 

GREAT NEWS FOR THE AQUARIUM, THE ISLAND AND THE SPECIES

As Alvaro Albela, the person in charge of the sea dragons and the saltwater area of the Poema del Mar, explained, they experienced this offspring as "great news", not only for the aquarium, but also for the island and the species, because "it was very difficult to achieve this".

It was therefore "very moving and rewarding" for the whole team and "a great reward for several years of work". The Poema del Mar's commitment to these sea dragons was clear from the very beginning, and a special tank was created for the welfare of this species when the facility was built, so that it could reproduce in Gran Canaria.

This tank is over three metres high, although sea dragons normally live in the seabed and only ascend for their courtship dance, a dance in which the female passes the eggs to the tail of the male through movements in which they rise intertwined from the seabed to the surface.

In addition, the aquarium has its own cultivation of the mysida on which these animals feed, the official marine emblem of South Australia, and which usually eat plankton, small crustaceans such as amphipods, mysid shrimp (Mysis) and larval fish (fish larvae), among others.

This new generation of sea dragons born on the island is fed with care and affection with pipettes, selecting one by one these mysida that they take as food to adapt the size to the growth of the small ones.

As Albela has acknowledged, the seven employees of this area lived this moment with great enthusiasm, because somehow sea dragons are "pampered children" in the Poema del Mar because of the animal's sensitivity and its particularities.

The sea dragon is unique in its species, just like the seahorse, which belongs to the Syngnathidae family, and it is the males who look after the eggs, something that takes place after a very special dance, usually in spring.

The fact that they have had babies and that they are growing up healthy in Poema del Mar is a sign that "they feel very comfortable" in the Gran Canaria aquarium, something that Albela and the team have been working on in detail since 2017 and which has not been achieved in any aquarium in Europe.

In a few months, when the little ones born in the month of June reach the right size, they will be able to move into the main tank, on display for visitors.

Their colours, which range from yellow to blue, red and violet with dots and stripes along their bodies, their strange physique which makes them look like mythical dragons, their particular shape which allows them to camouflage themselves between the algae in which they live, and the tranquillity conveyed by their floating way of moving are just some of the reasons why visitors are fascinated by them.

"Those who know this species and know how difficult it is to see them in an aquarium," said the responsible person, "will be impressed."

 

GRAN CANARIA HAS THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF THESE ANIMALS IN THE COUNTRY, WITH EIGHT ADULT SPECIMENS

Sea dragons (Phylloptery x taeniolatus) are a species that is particularly sensitive to environmental factors, protected because of its vulnerability and extreme peculiarity, which makes it a type of seahorse that is very difficult to breed in captivity.

In Spain they can only be seen in the Aquarium of Barcelona and in the Poema del Mar in Gran Canaria, which has the largest collection of these animals in the country, with up to eight adult specimens.

Only in Lisbon can so many sea dragons be seen together in Europe and, in the world, it is possible to see them in a few aquariums in the United States and Asia.

The Poema del Mar Aquarium was the venue chosen today for the presentation of the first CanBio results, a pioneering public-private research initiative financed with 2 million euros by Loro Parque and the Canary Islands Government and developed by research teams from the University of La Laguna and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The aim of this network is to establish a data and monitoring network for parameters linked to climate change, ocean acidification, underwater noise pollution and the impact of all these on marine biodiversity in the Canary Islands.

Among the first results that cover the study of common environmental problems in the Macaronesia, the coordinator of CanBio and director of the Loro Parque Fundación, Javier Almunia, explained that they include the increase in temperature recorded on the coasts of Tenerife and the consequent transformation of the coastal habitat with the proliferation of tropical species that invade the depths. He added that "changes in the underwater acoustic environment are being studied, with the recent installation of a buoy in Gando and another soon to be installed in El Hierro, which measure noise in the sea and allow its effects on fauna to be studied, as well as the loss of marine biodiversity, the alteration of ecosystems and the disappearance of species". CanBio Canarias has become the only Spanish marine observatory to be integrated into the European network for monitoring ocean acidification.

At the press conference, the Councillor for Ecological Transition, the Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning, José Antonio Valbuena Alonso, highlighted the importance of public-private collaboration and stressed that "the core where decisions are made are the two Canarian universities of excellence that we have" and the research of this type carried out by the ULL and the ULPGC "provides more and more information, not only to combat the consequences and effects of climate change in the Canary Islands, but also in the global context", he said.

The research approaches that have been taken so far in these areas, according to the Rector of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Rafael Robaina, "did not address the problem in a multidimensional way" and CanBio proposes "research in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary way that will allow us to obtain more information to increase our knowledge about the oceans". He also stressed that although "we have a poor rate of investment in science in Spain in general, and in the Canary Islands in particular", thanks to the collaboration and support of the private sector in projects such as this, which "is an example of transdisciplinary science and public-private science, this is what we need for the future that lies ahead", he said.

For his part, the Vice-Rector for Research at the University of La Laguna, Ernesto Pereda, positively valued the fact that "despite the complicated situation that we are experiencing, Loro Parque Fundación is maintaining its support for R&D projects and getting involved in science, which allows this type of project to be carried out", as well as others that are being developed with the University of La Laguna. In this respect, the Vice-President of Loro Parque, Christoph Kiessling, thanked the Canarian universities for their commitment and support in this initiative, and valued its results as "very important for the conservation of biodiversity, which is also our main objective".

Poema del Mar has also closed its doors since the alarm state was declared, but life continues within its facilities. Thus, the staff works daily to ensure the welfare of all the animals and the aquarium invites its followers and visitors to immerse themselves in a new adventure every day through its social networks.

In line with the philosophy of the Loro Parque Company, Poema del Mar's priority is to ensure that the animals living in its facilities have all their needs covered and continue to receive all the care they need to ensure their maximum well-being. In addition, the aquarium is committed to ensuring that the staff work with all the preventive measures recommended by the authorities to keep them in good health.

Likewise, while the quarantine lasts, all those interested will be able to continue visiting the Poema del Mar facilities virtually thanks to the publications that the aquarium team is publishing on social networks with the hashtag #AtHomeWithPoemaDelMar, through which they can dive through the different exhibitions, learn curiosities about its enigmatic species and discover the wonders hidden in the oceans, seas and rivers of the planet.

This is a joint initiative with Loro Parque, which has also increased its digital content with the hashtag #AtHomeWithLoroParque and which is being very well accepted by the public, the staff works daily to ensure the well-being of all the animals and the aquarium invites its followers and visitors to immerse themselves in a new adventure every day through its social networks.

Two African Spurred Tortoises take a walk in the aquarium

Taking advantage of the fact that Poema del Mar is closed to the public, Miguela and Fernanda, two African Spurred Tortoises, have left their facility to explore the aquarium. This activity is part of a training program that has been developed by their caretakers. They have visited their neighbors the rays; they have walked over a

Mexican limestone cave; they have met the characters from Finding Nemo, and they have even seen sharks in the impressive Deep Sea.

Thursday, 05 March 2020 11:37

A reference for species conservation

Since it began its work at the end of 2017, the Poema del Mar aquarium has been working daily to become a reference point for species conservation. In fact, many of the species held in its installations are on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are under some degree of vulnerability or threat in their natural environment.

Different dangers, often caused by human action - such as overfishing and pollution - put populations at risk. Therefore, the role of this type of conservation center is especially relevant when it comes to raising awareness about the status of these species and contributing to their protection and survival.

In that sense, Poema del Mar also carries out important educational work, implementing activities to inform the schools of Gran Canaria, as well as families and different social groups about the important work carried out by these centers in the archipelago, as the aquarium does through its conservation tool, the Loro Parque Fundación. Thanks to this foundation the aquarium has become a reference point in the dissemination of marine information on the islands.

Spectacular underwater biodiversity

In its two years of operation, Poema del Mar has evolved into a large aquarium that invites visitors to take an exciting journey through the wonders of the lakes, rivers and seas of the planet, and finally to immerse in the depths of the ocean, thus discovering the most spectacular underwater biodiversity.

In addition, only in the last year, it has taken in numerous species in its exhibitions, such as the male African bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus); two Whitetip reef sharks from Loro Parque, which live in Deep Sea, and two zebra sharks, also from Tenerife's zoo, named Famara and Miño, which can be seen in the Atoll. And it has also welcomed with great joy many animals born in its facilities, showing the welfare of the animals there.

This week it has been two years since Poema del Mar officially began its journey with a grand opening. Coinciding with the 47th anniversary of Loro Parque, the grand aquarium of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria celebrates two years of success in which thousands of visitors have been able to marvel at the spectacular biodiversity of the Blue Planet, in a journey that guides them through lakes, rivers and seas, until submerging in the depths of the ocean.

Recognized by the authorities of the Canary Islands as a project "of strategic interest to the region", with potential to strengthen the promotion of Gran Canaria and of the entire archipelago as one of the best tourist destinations at an international level, Poema del Mar has remained faithful to its commitment to innovation, biodiversity conservation and excellence in sustainable tourism.

Grey Sharks travel from Loro Parque to Poema del Mar

This year, Poema del Mar has received several gray sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) that arrived to the aquarium from Loro Parque and, after a period of quarantine, were moved to their new home at Deep Sea, an installation with the largest curved underwater window in the world. All belong to the second generation of this species born in the Zoo of Puerto de la Cruz thanks to the meticulous work of reproduction and breeding of the aquarium team.

Baby boom’ at Poema del Mar

In 2019 a baby boom has taken place in Poema del Mar, demonstrating the state of welfare in which all the animals are in its facilities. Thus, the aquarium has welcomed with great joy a baby African spurred turtle (Centrochelys sulcata), the first to be born in the aquarium; Madeira rays (Raja maderensis), and Kaiser's newts (Neurergus kaiseri), among other species.

A year of new entrants

In addition, the aquarium has added some new species to its exhibits, such as the male African bull frog (Pyxicephalus adspersus); two whitetip sharks from Loro Parque, which inhabit Deep Sea, and two zebra sharks also from the Tenerife zoo, named Famara and Miño, which can be seen in the Atoll.

Amazing ‘Deep Sea’

In its two-year history, it's all been words of wonder and admiration for Deep Sea, which has the world's largest curved underwater exhibition window, 36 meters wide and 7.35 meters high, as well as 39 centimeters thick. With a total tank depth of 8.5 meters and 5.5 million liters of water, Deep Sea allows you to observe, in a unique environment, the wonders of the deep oceans and about 3000 specimens of up to 40 different species that swim in its dark waters.

Commitment to conservation

Many of the species that Poema del Mar holds are on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are under some degree of vulnerability or threat in their natural environment. Various dangers, often caused by human action - such as overfishing and pollution - put populations at risk, so the role of conservation centers of this kind is particularly relevant when it comes to raising awareness for the state of the animals and contributing to their protection and survival.

Educational work as a pillar

Since its inception, and in line with the philosophy of the Loro Parque Company, Poema del Mar has carried out educational activities to familiarize the schools of Gran Canaria, as well as families and different social groups, with the important work carried out by the different research centers throughout the archipelago, the same way as the aquarium operates through the Loro Parque Fundación in wildlife conservation. Thus, Poema del Mar seeks to become a benchmark in marine research in the islands.

Poema del Mar from yesterday, Wednesday October 16, is now exhibiting three Sandbar Sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) to its visitors. Irma, Andrea and Samil, as the sharks are called, arrived at the aquarium last May from Loro Parque and, after a period of quarantine, have been moved to their new home in Deep Sea, the largest curved display window installation in the world. All three belong to the second generation of this species born in the portuense zoo, thanks to the meticulous work of reproduction and breeding by the aquarium staff.

After this phase of adaptation and acclimatization, and after proving that they continued to respond perfectly to the training to which they had been accustomed from a very early age in Loro Parque, these three specimens are already now sharing the space with five other species of sharks that inhabit the waters of the ‘deepest ocean’ in Poema del Mar: four Sand Tiger Sharks, four Nurse Sharks, three School Sharks, two Oceanic White-Tip Sharks and a Bull Shark.

More additions to the aquarium are expected soon for this species, which can live up to 45 years and reproduces only once every two years. They are viviparous animals, so the young are born fully developed and each female can give birth to between seven and ten specimens.

Irma, Andrea and Samil, like the other Sandbar Sharks that inhabit Loro Parque, act as perfect ambassadors for their fellow beings in the wild and help draw attention to the protection problems facing marine species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species includes 11 species of sharks, and it’s estimated that 100 million sharks die each year as a result of human consumption.