(NCS) — At the finish of Dubai‘s Palm Jumeirah, famed for its five-star resorts and luxurious villas, lies a high-tech medical facility with a few of the most cutting-edge tools on the market, together with water resistant ultrasound machines, transportable X-rays, and a completely geared up blood and water evaluation lab.

But this facility is not for human sufferers. It’s for fish.

It’s a part of the Fish Hospital at Atlantis Dubai, the marine-themed resort that is house to an aquarium stuffed with 65,000 underwater residents.

Looking after the whole lot from tiny anthia fish to two-meter black-tipped reef sharks, greater than 100 animal care specialists contribute to the work of the Fish Hospital. Aquarists, divers, marine educators and vets work alongside a life help workforce who care for the water high quality and be sure that all methods run easily.

“We aim to focus on preventative medicine rather than treatment,” says Ana Salbany, the hospital’s director of veterinary providers, who has been a key member of the workforce for the previous 11 years.

On a median day, Salbany and her workforce could discover themselves conducting well being assessments and ultrasound for pregnancies, taking blood samples, or X-raying doubtlessly injured animals. This dedication to sustaining a wholesome inhabitants has been a key think about the aquarium being acknowledged with gold commonplace accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

The facility is housed in the depths of Atlantis in a spotless back-of-house space that includes tanks of all sizes, meters and meters of multi-colored pipes and valves, and varied vessels with labels comparable to “Moon Jellyfish Ephyrae” and “24 Hour Artemia” which imply little to the uninitiated, however the whole lot to the Fish Hospital workforce.

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The Fish Hospital organizes academic excursions.

2021 Atlantis, The Palm Dubai

Breeding applications

Sickness is uncommon amongst the aquatic inhabitants right here, however that does not imply the hospital has quiet days. New animals becoming a member of the aquarium are quarantined right here, and in the warmth of the summer season months it homes turtles from native rescue organizations, offering a protected, temperature-controlled setting.

It’s additionally the place the aquarium’s breeding applications of moon jellies, corals and Arabian carpet sharks happen.

“We let the animals get on with being animals, and that means inevitably that some of them will mate,” explains Kelly Timmins, director of conservation, schooling and company social duty at Atlantis. With pure seawater and daylight mixed with a wholesome well-fed inhabitants, the carpet sharks breed with none further encouragement.

“When our divers find shark eggs in the lagoons they harvest them and bring them to the safety of the Fish Hospital nursery,” says Rob Bennett, supervisor of The Lost Chambers Aquarium. He’s been taking care of the bigger inhabitants, together with the sharks and rays, since 2008.

Not all eggs may have been fertilized, however people who have are dropped at the nursery to mature in peace. An Arabian carpet shark embryo will stay inside its egg, often known as a “mermaid’s purse,” for 9 to 12 months consuming the yolk contained in the sac and consistently transferring to oxygenate the surrounding fluid. And once they emerge, they’re totally impartial.

It’s this independence that makes them a viable species to be launched into the wild. The Atlantis workforce works with Dubai Municipality to launch numerous juvenile Arabian carpet sharks, thought-about a near-threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), into the waters of the Arabian Gulf annually.

Images for 2021 story on Fish Hospital at Atlantis The Palm Dubai

The aquarium is stuffed with 65,000 underwater residents.

2021 Atlantis, The Palm Dubai

Shark Tale

This March, 10 sharks had been launched into the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary, a stretch of protected seashore and shoreline that gives a peaceful, protected setting for marine life. And their new house is sort of the idyllic spot. This is the final seashore in Dubai the place hawksbill turtles lay their eggs, and the wealthy seagrass meadows offshore present grazing for dugongs.

One of Salbany’s jobs is to make it possible for any sharks transferred for launch are wholesome and in good situation. “We measure their weight, length and girth, and identify their sex before releasing them into the wild. There needs to be a correlation between weight and length to ensure they’re strong enough to fend for themselves.”

For the journey to their new house, the sharks are positioned right into a tank with pure seawater that’s consistently oxygenated throughout the 30-minute drive. The launch course of is fast — every shark is carried right down to the water in a sling, then allowed to swim away. After the launch, the workforce combs the size of the seashore to make sure that none of them have made it again to the shore or been washed up.

But why launch the sharks? “We’re all conservationists at heart,” says Bennett. “The sharks are only small when they leave us, between two and three years, but a lot of effort goes into getting them this far.”

Arabian carpet sharks are naturally docile creatures, dwelling on the backside of the seabed. Unlike fast-swimming sharks they do not use their eyes to seek out meals, as an alternative utilizing their moustache-like barbels and jelly-filled pores, known as ampullae of Lorenzini, to hunt out their subsequent meal.

“It’s like a sixth sense for them”, says Timmins. “They use these pores to detect electrical currents coming from their prey, which could be crabs, crustaceans or anything else they find on the sea floor.” Even the tiniest heartbeat emits sufficient electrical energy for the shark to seek out its subsequent meal.

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Atlantis Dubai additionally affords the alternative to snorkel alongside sharks.

2021 Atlantis, The Palm Dubai

A distinct kettle of fish

Food is a vital concern for the animal care specialists again at the Fish Hospital, too. With prevention of illness quite than therapy being the predominant focus, the fishes’ food regimen has a serious function to play in holding the inhabitants wholesome. In complete, the inhabitants of the aquarium require between 350 and 400 kilograms of meals per day (that is 770 to 880 kilos).

“In summer we need a bit less because the natural sunlight on the lagoon helps algae form which is a great food source for some of our residents,” says Bennett.

But for the sharks, algae is not on the menu. “We provide a wide variety of different foods that includes squid, mackerel, shrimps, crabs and lobsters. And it’s all restaurant-grade, the same top quality that we serve to human guests in the hotel,” says Bennett.

And there’s additionally one sudden ingredient in the combine. Garlic.

“We use 40 kilos of garlic each month,” says Bennett. “It’s great for the immune system and helps to keep away parasites.” And in winter, as temperatures lower and pure algae would not type in such excessive portions, the food regimen is supplemented with vitamin-rich spinach and lettuce.

A serious a part of the work carried out by the aquarium and Fish Hospital workforce focuses on schooling. Guests of Atlantis can go to the facility and see what goes on behind the scenes. “We try our best to explain the richness of marine life in the Gulf to guests because there’s a lack of knowledge about our waters. People think that because it’s so hot, nothing lives here,” says Bennett.

But it isn’t nearly what lives regionally. Broadening consciousness of sharks normally and lowering the worry issue of this misunderstood species is a serious focus for Bennett and his workforce.

“By showcasing the Arabian carpet sharks and the other sharks housed in our aquarium, we can show people that there’s a big diversity and that sharks don’t have to be ‘scary’,” he says. “A key part of protecting sharks is dispelling that myth, and this is an important part of the role we play here.”


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