Attractions industry news

27 Jul 2023

Merlin Entertainments launches new global conservation initiative

Merlin Entertainments has launched a new global conservation programme across its portfolio of Sea Life aquariums.

Merlin's network of more than 50 Sea Life sites will work in partnership with marine conservation charity, the Sea Life Trust, to deliver projects designed to make a positive impact on conservation in their local communities.

The first phase will see seven projects, spanning across Asia, Australia, the USA and Europe, drive positive impact on marine and freshwater ecosystems, species, and habitats across the globe

They include a breeding programme for endangered zebra sharks at Sea Life Sydney in Australia and a coral reef restoration project delivered in partnership with the team at Sea Life Bangkok in Thailand.

In Sydney, the Sea Life aquarium will play an integral part in the rollout of the Star Project (Stegostoma tigrinum Augmentation and Recovery Project), a multi-national, collaborative initiative that aims to establish genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations of zebra sharks in marine protected areas of West Papua, Indonesia.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, one of the project’s “breeder” facilities, has overseen shark eggs being shipped to Raja Ampat, in a world-first for a shark species recovery programme.

Meanwhile, Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is collaborating with two organizations based in Krabi to develop a long term, self-sustaining coral reef research and restoration project in the Andaman region of Southern Thailand.

The research aims to determine the most effective way to promote reef growth and regeneration suited to this region and create an operational framework that will both promote the resilience of these coastal ecosystems as well as foster engagement and support with the local communities that depend on them.

Further projects will be announced later this year.

Chris Brown, chair of Merlin’s conservation board and head of marine programmes and education for Sea Life UK, said: “We are incredibly proud to support impactful conservation programs that make a real difference to aquatic wildlife and their habitats.

"Our dedicated teams actively participate in conservation projects around the world.

"From funding turtle conservation research, to releasing zebra sharks into the wild, to rescuing the endangered native British Crayfish, our aspiration is to protect and restore the underwater world for future generations.”

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