Hi Explorers, how are you guys? It’s always nice to have you here!
Yesterday I was talking with a girl of nine years old, Yasmine, when she told me: “Flora do you know that we know more about the stars then of our own planet?“. “Really?“, I answered, amazed by this little girl affirmation.
“Yes – she continued – because our Earth is covered by 71 percent of water and we do not know more about it“.
Well, as a good explorer I took Jasmine’s worries as an invite to go and explore more about the marine life!
It’s time to go out for another fantastic experience and this time will be at the:
MALTA NATIONAL AQUARIUM!
Flora the Explorer was super lucky to be welcomed by Victoria Dennis, the Aquarium Supervisor, who gave me some useful information about the place.
First of all The National Aquarium is a recent project for Malta, in fact it was only opened in October 2013 and so far it is involved in Marine conservation projects as well as taking devotionally care of a wide range of fish species.
I could appreciate the fact that the presence of a National Aquarium is not only an amusement park but a place of study, reasearch and development of important educational programs about the underwater life, in particular on educating the local community in understanding more about the Sea environment and making more conscious decisions to keep it healthy.
Every morning the Aquarium team welcomes groups of school students willing to know more about the wonders hidden inside the blue surface. Thanks to the collaboration of the Aquarium with the NGO BirdLife Malta and its Education Team, students and visitors get to learn not only about the in house fish species but also about issues realted to local sea birds and other animals.
For example, did you know that the litter and the plastic that we leave on the beach can attract rats during the night? The rats eat whatever they find including the eggs of the seabirds, which like the Mediterranean Storm-Petrel (the smallest in the picture) lay only one egg a year. So be carefull when you leave the beach not to leave behind your litter or a generation of birds can be lost forever!
Did you know that the 50% of the population of the Storm-Petrel lives in Fifla, the tiny uninhabitated isle in front of the Cliff, in the South West Coast?
I can say that a walk inside the Malta National Aquarium is a walk along the Nature that surround the wonderful Maltese Sea and beyond!
Each tank is located along a path that brings you to discover the most famous Maltese coastline points so rich in biodiversity, like the Blue Grotto, Dingli Cliffs, St Paul’s Island, Wied iz-Zurrieq, the Grand Harbour which is rich in Mediterranean aquatic species like Blennies, Gobies, Octopi an Crustaceans, to the sister islands of Gozo and Comino as well as to discover the historical Maltese sites related to the Sea.
In fact Flora the Explorer couldn’ t resist to walk along the tunnel made with the fish tanks…so Funny! I ended up in a Submarine that represent the HMS Stubborn submarine wreck one of the 67 S-Class submarines that were built by the British Royal Navy. I also saw the Trireme Ghost Wreck that reminds the St Paul’s Shipwreck ship and the replica of the famous anchor linked to the Shipwrecked discovered by Mark Gatt (to find out more about his discoveries click here).
Malta is a diver’s dream with its many submarine relicts to discover, like the Statue of Jesus Christ. Here the replica that as in the wild provides a marine habitat to soft sponges and marine species.
Explorers, you will find many wonders at the National Aquarium like the new Reptiles & Amphibians zone, a real rainforest where Flora the Explorer had an exotic encounter…
Margherita, a young Italian Marine Biologist, guided us in our journey to explore the lifespecies from our Mediterrenean Sea like the seabream, octopus or the starfish, murals and the skates. We met Casper the white “goast” skate of the Aquarium… so cute! She also told us their breeding beaviours… The aquarist below is actually feeding the fish, it was so interesting!!! You will see it in the video, click here
Margherita finally guided us in the Ocean Experience of its inhabitants. Here is an explosion of colours: from the anemones, baby piranhas, tropical fish from the Oceans of the world, like the Indian Ocean and the corals tank, where the aquarists are preserving them, taking the maximum care of these delicate species.
Of course the King of the Aquarium is the Shark!
Come to visit the Malta National Aquarium and meet Sandy the Shark 😉
The most exciting part for me was to experience the life path of a shark from birth! In fact Margherita told us that together with the local Association, Sharklab Malta, they are promoting recovery and release programme of two species of local cat shark, Nurse hounds and Lesser spotted cat sharks. “Sharklab Malta – said Margherita – visit the fish market in Valletta daily to report the amount of shark species that are landed and check whether or not they have egg cases inside them, so we can take care of the eggs until they hatch naturally“.
Both Sharklab Malta and the Aquarium have since organised three shark releases in order to give these species a second chance at life in the Sea.
They also have been promoting an ‘Adopt a shark’ programme, for kids who want to donate to the NGO and monitor the progress of their pup. This can also be purchased at the Malta National Aquarium, along with membership information to become a member of Sharklab Malta.
Nick was quite worried knowing that the sharks would have been free to swim in the same sea where he would have probably swam. But Margerita assured him that human beings are not really sharks’ favourite food and they are not so aggressive as it is showed in the films, they prefer swimming in very deep water and they only usually attack for defence purposes 😉
Reassured by Margherita, we are thinking of adopting our own shark very soon… And you?
This journey at the Malta National Aquarium was spectacular!!!
A walk along the history, the nature of Malta, the Mediterranean Sea and the Oceans reef.
Look at those three: Nemo, Marlin and Dory in person are inviting you and your kids to meet them at the Malta National Aquarium, go and enjoy it 😉
Thanks a lot to Victoria Dennis and Margherita for this amazing experience!
To see the video click here 😉
To know more about the National Aquarium initiatives click here
The National Aquarium is located in Qawra (St Paul’s Bay) and it features in the most popular directory for the Bugibba-St Paul’s Bay area. For more info about it click here
Thanks and follow Flora the Explorer in the next adventure 😉