The Churaumi Aquarium in the Ocean Expo Park announced the reopening of the "Manatee Pool" from Oct. 15, which was temporarily closed. At the same time, a new baby manatee, born on June 16 this year, was introduced to the public for the first time.
The baby manatee is the second offspring of "Maya," the mother manatee. The new baby started breastfeeding three days after birth, but although it seemed to be doing well, the caretakers judged that the amount of milk the mother produced was low three weeks after birth and started artificial feeding.
Baby manatees have been kept independently in the pool dedicated to child-rearing during their artificial feeding, and care has been taken for parents and the baby to get rest. Recently, the baby began to eat vegetables, the manatees' staple food, and it's growing steadily.
American Manatee is a herbivorous mammal living in rivers, lakes, and the ocean along the Atlantic coast. It is a rare animal classified under the Washington Convention Class I (International Wild Rare Animal Plant Species).
The Churaumi Aquarium succeeded in breeding a captive manatee for the first time in Japan in 1990, and a baby manatee named "Yuma" was born in 2001. The birth is the third successful manatee birth in Japan, all of them at the Churaumi facility.
The Government of Mexico donated the manatee couple, a female named "Maya" and a male named "Ryu," the new baby's parents, to the Churaumi Aquarium in 1997.
The public viewing is limited to the basement of the Manatee Pool to reduce the stress on the mother and baby manatee. In addition, as manatees are sensitive to sound and light, visitors are asked to be quiet and watch over their children when visiting and refrain from using flash when shooting pictures.
The Okinawa Churashima Foundation, which manages and operates the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, has reported these successful breeding and growth records to academic journals and continues to contribute to the conservation of wild manatees through breeding and research of American manatees.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Hours: 8:30-18:30 *Last entry 17:30; Mar-Sep 8:30-20:00 *Last entry 19:00
Admission: Adults ¥1,850, ages 16-18 ¥1,230, ages 6-15 ¥610, under 5 free
Annual passport: Adults ¥3,700, ages 16-18 ¥2,460, ages 6-15 ¥1,220, under 5 free
*Multi-currency exchange machine is available at the aquarium entrance.
The Ocean Planetarium offers an impressive view of marine life glowing in the dark in the Deep Sea section.
This world-renowned aquarium is a must-see when you visit Okinawa. Churaumi means “beautiful ocean” in the Okinawan dialect. You can see huge whale sharks measuring 8.5 meters in length along with various other species of fish that can be observed through a massive acrylic panel.