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From the Director

Dear Members,

For the holiday season 2005, we provided our members with the first compilation of a historical/pictorial reference for The Dallas World Aquarium. This book has been sold out for some time and continued requests for copies of this early edition prompted us to update the information.

Using much the same format, it has been amazing to actually take a look at the changes that have occurred during this time period! Perhaps more important to the overall welfare of the facility are those areas that have not changed. Many of the signature plants and animals have been part of the exhibits for years and hopefully will continue for many more, such as: Leafy seadragons, Giant clams, Napoleon wrasses, jellyfish, crocodiles, manatees, toucans, otters, a Jaguar, sharks, eagles, Ceiba, Monkey Don't Climb, Black Olive and palm trees, bamboo, vines and blooming plants. It is encouraging to see the same blooms each year. We continue to emphasis new plant species in order to show a representative selection from Mexico, Central and South America, such as the Chocolate tree, once important to the Maya culture.

The vegetation provides selective shelter, material for nests, watering sources and food for many species. If the appropriate design and maintenance of an exhibit can be determined by the successful reproduction of various species, we have excelled in many areas. Of the more than 80 baby Ocellated turkeys at the DWA, we were delighted when a private aviculturist donated funds to support our work in Peru for the Manatee Center in return for some of our turkeys! With more than 100 baby Orinoco crocodiles, including the 55 that have been released in Venezuelan rivers, some of the remaining animals will be used for educational purposes in various accredited facilities throughout the world, helping to identify the plight of Crocodilians worldwide. For almost two years, we have exhibited numerous species and specimens of toucans, aracaris and toucanets in Toucan Encounter near Jungle Café, all of which were hatched at the DWA.

Some species of Oropendolas build long pendulum nests, toucans nest in logs, but Hummingbirds are masters at hiding their tiny nests. They build their own nests and provide food for their young, with no assistance from DWA keepers.

It is a real challenge to provide a daytime look at some of our nocturnal animals (although one of our Night owl monkeys, an accomplished escape artist, seems to prefer entertaining visitors with his presence during the day rather than sleeping). The lighting in the New Guinea exhibit has been altered to better replicate a night reef. The Flashlight fish require that you look very closely to fully appreciate this species.

Included in the updated book will be the introduction of many animals currently living off-exhibit, some that will hopefully become part of the experience for visitors to the DWA in the near future. Two off-exhibit bird species that are of extreme importance to us are the Horned guan and the Resplendent quetzal.

Thanks for your continued support of the DWA and our conservation initiatives. We look forward to completing our latest publication and sharing the new edition with you for the upcoming holiday season.

Daryl Richardson, Director