In the wild, rockhopper penguins inhabit rocky islands throughout
the southern ocean, from the coasts of Argentina and Chile to islands
off southern Africa and New Zealand. Theyre among the smallest
penguin species, and easy to tell from the blackfooted penguins. Look
for a yellow stripe above each eye that projects into a yellow crest
that is joined by a black crest on the back of the head. They have red
eyes, reddish brown bill, and pink feet and legs.
The Penguin exhibit will be closed until Saturday, November 5
Bernie Marcus, benefactor of the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, announced
that the Georgia Aquarium will open November 23, 2005, as the largest
in the world. There are two things people measure an aquarium
by the amount of water and the number of fish, Marcus
He then announced the Aquariums amount of water -- more than
8 million gallons -- and its number of fish --more than 100,000. Our
original water figures were low, and it wasnt until the measuring
tapes came out and the water systems were filled that we understood
just how enormous the numbers actually were, Marcus said...
Six million of the more than eight million gallons are in the whale
shark habitat, a single habitat built specifically to accommodate
whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. At its longest, widest
and deepest parts, the habitat measures 263 long x 126
wide x 33 deep.
There were code names, secret agreements and very large creatures
being moved quietly around the world under cover of darkness.
By the time the maneuvering ended, just before dawn Friday, the Georgia
Aquarium had two rare whale sharks the largest fish in the
world swimming in its huge tanks. The gentle plankton-eating
giants give Atlanta and its big fish tank downtown a solitary distinction.
The juvenile fish one nearly 16 feet long, the other 13 feet
were spirited out of eastern Taiwan this week, placed aboard
special "life support" tanks in a United Parcel Service
747 aircraft in Taipei and flown to Atlanta. By 5 a.m. Friday, they
had been whisked into the Georgia Aquarium, where they could grow
to a length of 50 feet or more, weigh 15 tons and live for decades.
Marcus, the 76-year-old Home Depot co-founder who is spending $200
million of his fortune on the aquarium as a gift to the state's residents,
has wrapped a tight veil of secrecy around the whale shark acquisition
in particular and his plans for the aquarium in general. The male
fish were code-named "Ralph and Norton," after characters
on the old "Honeymooners" TV series to cloak their unique
For the first time Friday, Marcus confessed that the Georgia Aquarium,
one of the largest in the world, was designed specifically to accommodate
whale sharks, a "wow" exhibit in the world of big fish tanks.
The aquarium's tanks will hold more than 5 million gallons of water
and more than 55,000 fish and other animals, representing more than
Marcus declined to say what he paid for the big fish, but discredited
a Chinese news agency report that tagged them at $8,000 each.
"They said, 'There's no way you can do it. There's nobody in
the United States that can do it.' Today, we proved we can do it,"
Not everyone shared Marcus' delight.
Marie Levine of the Shark Research Institute in New Jersey said whale
sharks often don't do well in captivity. She said many die shortly
after being placed in aquariums.
"I am just livid," Levine said. "I am so angry. It's
absolutely unconscionable to do this to animals so rare. Whale sharks
don't do well in captivity."
Levine said the Georgia Aquarium in 2003 tried to obtain two whale
sharks from a marine sanctuary off the coast of Belize, but when her
organization and local groups opposed the move, the aquarium withdrew
Jeff Swanagan, director of the Georgia Aquarium, disputed Levine's
assertions. Whale sharks have lived for more than a decade in Asian
aquariums, he said. And Atlanta's aquarium, he said, was specifically
engineered to meet their needs.
"Most of the people who make that criticism their criticism
is not based in science," Swanagan said. He said research on
the animals at the Atlanta facility could help ensure their survival
in the wild.
Marcus said the whale sharks will provide a priceless combination
of entertainment, education and research. And, he said, they will
eat very well in the process.
"They are now in an accommodation like being in Trump Towers,"
he said. "They're going to eat all they want. They're going to
be safe from predators. The truth of the matter is that if we could
communicate with them they'd say, 'Hell no, I don't want to go back
to the ocean."
Couple Says Fish Bone Bears Jesus Image
LUTHER, Okla. - An Oklahoma couple who says a fish bone bears the
image of Jesus is selling it on eBay. The Newmans said they received
the fish bone from a friend 10 years ago, and they've had good luck
ever since. Now, they said it's someone else's turn.There is a legend
that the type of fish the bone came from, a sailcat, was chosen by Jesus
to remind people of what he went through.
The skeletal remains are now up for auction on eBay with a starting
bid of $29.95.
10/27/05 - FLORENCE, AL) - The First Assembly of God Church has agreed
to discontinue its practice of swallowing live goldfish as part of its
Fear Factor ministry.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked for a ban on the
Spokeswoman Amy Rhodes said the organization was flooded with calls
earlier this month after a story about the program was published in
PETA contacted the church seeking confirmation of a ban on the activity.
Pastor Greg Woodall replied to PETA's request in a letter.
"I do appreciate your concern and just wanted to let you know
that this will never happen again," Woodall wrote. "My views
are a reflection of yours. We love God's creatures and would never want
to show them harm."
As part of the Fear Factor ministry at the church, teenage participants
were asked to swallow live goldfish. No one reportedly became ill during
the goldfish phase of the program that concludes this week.
Youth minister Anthony Martin said earlier the goal of the exercise
was to teach teens about fear.
PETA thanked the church for the ban by sending a gift basket of vegan
Swedish fish, a gummy candy, as an alternative to live fish.