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National Zoo to Close Invertebrate Exhibit for Good
What a spineless move. By Benjamin Freed
Sorry, cuttlefish. Photograph courtesy National Zoo.
Comments () | Published June 16, 2014

Invertebrate organisms represent an estimated 99 percent of all known living species, but after Saturday, they’ll be the centerpieces of 0 percent of exhibits at the National Zoo. The zoo says it is closing its long-running invertebrate exhibit permanently on Sunday in a move the Smithsonian says will save $1 million a year.

“This difficult decision is not a reflection of the importance of invertebrates or how we feel about them,” Dennis Kelly, the zoo’s director, says in a press release.

The decision to close the 27-year-old invertebrate display—which features spineless creatures such as cuttlefish, coral, anemones, Chesapeake blue crabs, spiny lobsters, giant clams, and butterflies—was made to spare the Smithsonian the estimated $5 million it would cost to upgrade the exhibit. (By contrast, the zoo spends $550,000 just on giant pandas, although pandas make for better merchandise than cuttlefish.)

The zoo says most of its resident invertebrates will either be moved to other exhibits or transferred to other zoos and aquariums, while a few specimens with short life spans will die off before the exhibit closes this weekend.

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  • TERESA BONELLI

    Ningún animal esta por capricho en su área de nacimiento,estan para el servicio del mismo y deben permacer allí vivos por necesidad del ambiente y de su equilibrio.

  • Kay

    This is poorly written and incorrect. The animals won't "die off before the exhibit closes this weekend" and it would cost more than 5 mil to upgrade and UPKEEP

  • Scott

    BOOOOO. Always loved that area, it felt like a hidden gem.

  • ANP

    Very sorry to hear this. It is probably one of our favorite exhibits at the Zoo.

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Posted at 01:29 PM/ET, 06/16/2014 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs