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Desert museum opens first aquarium in Tucson

Desert museum opens first aquarium in Tucson

CREATED Jan 4, 2013

Reporter: Justin Schecker
Web Producer: Mekita Rivas

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Pike minnow, sea horses and garden eels.

Those are just three of the more than two dozen species on display at Tucson's first aquarium.

"So there's just tremendous diversity in this region," said Craig Ivanyi, executive director of the Sonora Desert Museum. "We're trying to get people to understand the relationship of water to the Sonoran desert region and how we're tied to not just the fresh water, but also the gulf region."

The Warden Aquarium at the museum allows visitors to explore the waterlife from the Colorado River Watershed down to the Sea of Cortez. For those who put this exhibit together, it's also about spreading the message of conservation.

One section shows the consequences of irresponsible fishing.  

"One kilogram of shrimp winds up with 4 to 40 kilograms of bi-catch," Ivanyi said. "All types of organisms that end up dying so it can just be a really, really inefficient way of fishery and really kind of disastrous for a lot of species down there."

Some of these tanks serve as a refuge for endangered species. By taking them in, Ivanyi says the museum directly takes part in keeping them alive.  

"It's a really great feeling when you can actually be directly involved in taking certain species and producing more of them and knowing someday somebody is going to see a fish, or in some cases other species we work with -- frogs and things like that -- and that we may be part of the reason why they're still there."

Details on the aquarium at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum can be found on the museum's website