Anaconda, sharks relocated to Draper

Posted at 10:12 PM, Nov 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-03 00:12:41-04

DRAPER, Utah – The Living Planet Aquarium is getting closer to opening the doors at their new facility in Draper, and workers are taking special care to relocate some of the larger, more dangerous animals.

Some of the creatures can be transported in 5-gallon buckets, while others require special vans with oxygen and heating equipment.

Deana Walz is the lead aviculturist with Living Planet Aquarium, and she said they carefully match transportation with the animals’ needs.

“Moving any animal poses its challenges,” she said. “With the penguins we have to be really careful about temperature. So we have to wait until it cools off quite a bit to move these guys cause anything above 50 degrees will make them sick.”

While the weather remained too-warm for penguin transporting, crews were able to move a 15-foot anaconda and several sand bar sharks. It took five people to move the large snake. Walz said the snake was likely to be intrigued by the experience.

“She's very inquisitive by nature, so she'll be more interested in what's going on,” she said. “She is such a big snake and a strong snake, so it will take a lot of us to make sure that she is supported well, and she'll do just fine.”

Employees used large nets to fish the sharks out of their enclosure so they could be moved.

“Moving sharks can be difficult because we have to transport them in water,” Walz said. “We need to make sure they have ample air in that water, that the water is temperature controlled, and then moving them from one big tank to another."

Two of the sand bar shark juveniles were moved to an off-site location before they will be put in their new home in Draper. The sharks will join more than 2,000 other animals in the new shark tunnel that was built in September.

Suzy Broadbent, Living Planet Aquarium director of marketing, said the tunnel will have a huge variety of things to see.

”It is going to hold 300,000 pounds of water and over 2,000 different animals in there, which include the 20 sharks that will be in there,” Broadbent said.

The new site for the aquarium is expected to open in December of this year.