Aquarium Conservation Efforts
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium (LLPA) believes in building a world in which everyone takes an active part in protecting Earth’s diverse ecosystems. Because all life is interconnected, we believe that we can make choices that will build a sustainable world for nature and humankind alike. Education and conservation actions are key components in building a community of environmental stewards.
All that we do at the Aquarium – caring for animals, teaching the public, visiting schools, and building partnerships – is part of our strategy to build and support healthy ecosystems around our Living Planet.
There are many ways you can support and join our conservation efforts. Please read on to learn more, or click below to get involved.
Species Survival Plan Programs
LLPA collaborates with zoos and aquariums around the country to ensure the survival of threatened and endangered animals as part of several Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Programs as administered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are conservation and cooperative breeding programs that help maintain genetic diversity and stabilize the population of specific species. The Aquarium is home to several SSP programs for a variety of animals from around the globe.
SSP Spotlight: Gentoo Penguins
The Aquarium is home to 21 Gentoo penguins, the third largest penguin species. The original 11 penguins came to us in 2010 from Moody Gardens in Texas. We’ve had four successful years of penguin births at LLPA.
SSP Spotlight: Clouded Leopards
One of 23 institutions participating in the SSP for Clouded leopards, the Aquarium has two Clouded leopards, a male named Koshi and a female named Rhu. They came to us from the Houston Zoo and Denver Zoo in 2016.
Meet our other SSP Animals
- Asian small-clawed otters
- Blue-grey tanagers
- Caiman lizards
- Crested oropendolas
- Crested wood partridges
- Cuban rock iguanas
- Keel-billed toucans
- Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths
- North American river otters
- Ocellate river stingrays
- Pot-belly seahorses
- Southern three-banded armadillos
- White-blotched river stingrays
- Yellow-rumped caciques
The Aquarium fosters stewardship of our Living Planet through conservation initiatives including the Coral Rescue program, which has a goal to restore 22 million square feet of coral reef in the Coral Triangle. Coral reef systems are in decline. Without change, scientists estimate we will lose 70 to 90 percent of reefs in the next 30 years. To help prevent this devastating loss, the Coral Rescue program is taking action. We are using a proven method, often referred to as coral farming, which utilizes underwater coral farms to grow and then “replant” coral fragments to re-establish healthy reefs. To read more about this project, visit coralrescue.org.
Sea Turtle Conservation
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is helping to fund The Pawikan Project, which helps protect sea turtle hatchlings in the Philippines. Five of the world’s seven marine turtle species are found in the Philippines, known locally as the “Pawikan,” a term that refers to all local species including Green, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, and Leatherback turtles.
The Pawikan Project focuses on conservation on and near the shore where poaching of turtles and eggs is the main threat. Many times eggs are taken from their nests to be served as a delicacy. While the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, also known as the Philippine Wildlife Act, is in place, challenges remain. Read more about The Pawikan Project.
Boreal Toad Project
The Boreal toad is designated as a species of concern in Utah due to its limited range, combined with the arrival of chytrid fungus, which has been implicated in several population die-offs. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium works with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) Warmwater Fish Hatchery, Wild Utah Project, Wahweap Fish Hatchery, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Denver Zoo, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo to perform regular surveys of Boreal toad populations throughout the state of Utah.
Based on partnership protocols, the Aquarium is working to retain a reserve population in case of extirpation (local extinction) of the species, as well as attempting captive breeding. If successful, the reared eggs will be returned to the UDWR for further propagation or release into the wild. The Aquarium is attempting to replicate natural hibernation parameters for some of our toads to help induce amplexus (breeding) come spring, with the hope of offspring. Our first attempt of breeding was in 2020 but no offspring. We’re in the middle of our next attempt this year which thus far has produced over 20 tadpoles!
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® Program
This program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean now, and for future generations. Their recommendations found on their website and The Seafood Watch App, indicate which seafood items are Best Choices or Good Alternatives, and which ones you should Avoid.
Fish are a primary food source for many animal species in the wild. The ocean is the great provider for ecosystems around the world. Like their cousins in the wild, many of the animals at LLPA rely on fish for their food. We support the efforts of Seafood Watch which makes recommendations to help you choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment.
We believe all food should be sourced in a sustainable manner and our catering partner, ICON Culinary, upholds this standard in their daily operations. They source sustainable seafood, take steps to limit waste in the Reef Café and catering services, grow their own micro greens using aeroponic towers (growing plants without soil when weather allows), and utilize reusable or easily recyclable plating options whenever possible.
Reusable Energy & Water
As an Aquarium in a landlocked state – the second driest in the nation – water is an extremely precious resource. LLPA makes every effort to recycle and reuse as much water as possible while maintaining high water quality standards in our exhibits. To do this, every system has its own recirculating system. Additionally, water is reused and shared between exhibits, starting with the more sensitive invertebrates like Jellies, Sea stars, Coral, and Sea urchins, then on to a variety of fish and shark exhibits, and finally on to the Gentoo penguins.
When the Aquarium exchanges water between systems, there is a dedicated recovery system to filter and sterilize the water before it enters a new exhibit. This process allows the sustainable reuse of water while ensuring the lowest water and salt usage possible.
The Aquarium installed solar panel arrays on the roof of our current facility to help offset electrical needs. As we expand, so will the amount of solar panels and our ability to produce more solar energy for our operations.
Event Network Gift Shop
Within our gift shop run by Event Network, we educate guests on the importance of keeping our oceans clean and plastic-free by providing a more sustainable and Earth-friendly shopping experience. From reusable water bottles (offered at a discounted price with any in-store purchase) to items made from upcycled or recycled goods, guests can choose from a wide variety of eco-friendly products that help promote a greener lifestyle.
We have also worked closely with our vendors and suppliers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used, both in the product and product packaging, but also how it is shipped and delivered to the Aquarium. We do not use single-use plastic bags, which are one of the biggest polluters in our oceans, but instead, we offer reusable bags made from recycled plastic bottles at the register. Stop in and pick one up today and to help preserve and protect our oceans.
After traveling the globe as U2’s stage during the band’s record-breaking 360° Tour, EECO – Ecosystem Exploration Craft & Observatory (formerly known as The Claw) – crowns our Science Learning Campus and is sustainably repurposed as a permanent Utah landmark and majestic symbol of science exploration, learning, and conservation. By acquiring this stage, the Aquarium is recycling 200 tons of steel.
You can help promote the sustainable reuse of this iconic sculpture and create the Science Learning Campus by making a donation or buying a brick or plaque to be displayed in front of or on top of the stage beneath the famous structure.
The Aquarium uses a lot of gloves every day for food preparation, animal habitat maintenance, and cleaning. We made the switch to recyclable gloves in 2018 by participating in the Kimberly-Clark “RightCycle” program. This change reduces the amount of gloves sent to the landfill by about 8.18 tons every year.
How it works
LLPA Team Members use the gloves, and then they’re collected on-site and shipped to a recycling center. The materials are integrated into new eco-friendly products such as flower pots and patio furniture.