Deep offers sanctuary for seized corals

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CORALS and clams from a remote island in the Pacific Ocean will soon be on show at Hull aquarium The Deep after being seized by the UK Border Agency.

The vulnerable species were seized on arrival at Heathrow Airport from the Cook Islands because of invalid documents and were temporarily housed at London Zoo before being donated to the Hull attraction.

They are now being kept in quarantine before going on display to the public.

Katy Duke, curator at The Deep, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these animals a new home in our coral display which helps to highlight the plight of coral in the wild.

“Coral reefs face a bleak future as warming sea temperatures are continuing to cause coral bleaching and ocean acidification threatens future growth and recovery of these important ecosystems.

“Seb Prajsnar, The Deep’s coral specialist, has spent the morning acclimating them to our quarantine systems. This involves carefully matching water parameters such as salinity, temperature and pH to ensure they settle into their new display after transport.”

She added: “They are likely to be kept in quarantine for about one month before going on show in our coral display. We are currently moving a number of soft corals from here in the Lagoon of Light so these new ones will be a lovely addition.”

There are six clams and seven different corals – acropora, montipora, turbinaria, catalaphylia, trachyphyllia, eurhyllia and galaxea.

An investigation into their seizure, which relates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, is ongoing.

The Deep declined to say what their intended destination was.

The aquarium, housed in an iconic building designed by Sir Terry Farrell, celebrated its 10th birthday last year and has welcomed more than 4.5 million visitors.