It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, and to celebrate Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park is paying tribute to some of their hard working fishy (and non fishy) fathers.
“Our Bangaii Cardinal fish daddies take parenting very seriously, incubating up to 40 eggs in their mouths for 4 weeks until they hatch!” said animal care team member Sarah Moseley.
“The poor dad doesn’t eat anything whilst he is carrying all those babies. He then spits the babies out into the spines of a nearby sea urchin, where they are safe from predators.”
These babies are a big step forward in the Parks captive breeding programme as this collection of fish are popular with the aquarium trade and are being overfished from the wild to the extent of near extinction.
“We have been very privileged over the years to have a successful captive breeding programme, not only with the more recent success of our baby Bangaii’s, but also with our Humboldt penguins and Asian Short Clawed otters as well”, said Sarah.
The Park’s other hard working dads are Johnny the otter and Birch the penguin, who have both now fathered several babies of their own. This is fantastic news for many reasons.
Sarah explains, “Of course we all love to watch the cute babies, and the otters and penguins are particularly adorable, but both of these species are experiencing problems in the wild. So, Johnny and Birch are really doing their bit for conservation as well as providing bundles of fun for us to enjoy”.
Both the Humboldt penguin and Asian Short-clawed otter are suffering as a result of habitat loss and the impact of Man’s actions so these baby booms at Weymouth not only give the Park the opportunity to bring the conservation message to its visitors, but it is also helping to keep the captive population of these threatened species at a healthy level.
The Bangaii family are all happily living together on show in the Parks Breeding and Nursery exhibit, while super dad Johnny is expecting his second litter of pups!