This post was written by August H., age 11 on his experience behind the scenes at the Shedd Aquarium as part of the Sheddvocate Program. All thoughts are his own, we only edited for clarity.
The Shedd Aquarium is more than just a zoo. It’s a place where animals that can’t go back to the wild can live safely and can get medical help.
The Shedd has been rescuing animals for a long time and have been releasing them back into the wild if possible. Some of their animals though can’t survive in the wild anymore and are given a nice home and plenty of care at the Shedd.
The Shedd’s new program called Sheddvocate, is to help spread the word that they aren’t just a zoo. The Shedd invited about 20 people after hours to talk with their scientists about what they were doing to help the injured animals so that they could share what they were told about the rescue and rehabilitation program.
During my visit the Shedd let us go in places that you can’t go to in an ordinary visit. We were allowed to go on top of the Caribbean Reef exhibit and see them feed and brush Nickel the sea turtle.
We started at the penguin exhibit where they told us about their rescue and rehabilitation program. As we walked through the Shedd we got to see the belugas training with their keepers. They had to swim to each of them and receive a fish from each bucket.
When we got to the sea lion cage they told us how all the sea lions got there and if they could be released again. One of them, when they found him had bullet fragments in his skull and was blind. He couldn’t be released again but got along with the other sea lions just fine and could still find his way around the cage.
After that we went to see the sharks and they told us how they got them there. They even had a bamboo shark egg that was only a few days from hatching and you could see the shark moving inside it.
After the sharks we finally went on top of the Caribbean Reef exhibit. On top we got to see Nickel the sea turtle get brushed and fed lettuce. Nickel likes getting brushed so much that they attached brushes to the bottom of some floating boards so that Nickel could brush her back anytime she wants to.
Nickel cannot be released back into the wild because a motor boat propeller made a gash in her shell so when she tries to dive the back of her body floats up, so she wouldn’t be able to dive for food.
After the tour I had learned a lot on what the Shedd was doing to help the animals they have there and the ones they set free again. I’m excited to go back again.
Editor’s Note: You can learn more about the Shedd’s Animal Rescue and Rehab on their website.
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1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago | 312-939-2438
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