April 13, 2024

COLUMBIA — Riverbanks Zoo and Yard is poised to open the biggest aquatic and reptilian life conservation centre in the Midlands on March 2 with a newly renovated 20,000-square ft. aquarium and reptile conservation center.

It is really a $10 million part of an expense from Columbia’s Darnall and Susan Boyd Basis.

The zoo is incorporating two new conservation labs — a single for coral reefs and 1 for endangered amphibians and reptiles — as nicely as a desert climate biome for some of the park’s reptilian residents, and with a nod to the favourite animal of the charitable midlands foundation’s namesake, a giant Pacific octopus named Susan.







Riverbanks Zoo coral conservation lab

The coral lab at Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo and Backyard garden is a study and procedure centre for species of coral colonies rescued off the Florida coastline in partnership with the federal federal government. T. Michael Boddie/Submit and Courier



A huge function is the aquarium and reptile center’s coral conservation lab, which works some thing like a healthcare facility for over 40 species of diseased coral colonies that had been rescued off the coastline of Florida close to Essential West, Riverbanks’s Chief Running Officer Lochlan Wooten explained.

“The coral essentially safeguards coastal communities, so there’s financial and environmental impact,” Wooten claimed. “What this renovation has performed is significantly raise our footprint in the room obtainable to do this work, which is a match-changer.”

The $10 million investment from the Boyd Basis is portion of the zoo’s larger sized, $32 undertaking for a learn program dubbed “Bridge to the Wild,” which also consists of the park’s white rhinoceros exhibit that opened in 2020, a lot more than a calendar year after the zoo lifted COVID restrictions and produced a force for much more interactive exhibits.

The park’s 30-12 months-aged crocodiles ended up shipped off to Fresno, Calif., to make home for the desert biome, which will house some animals native to the American Southwest together with rattlesnakes, blue iguanas and the endangered thick-billed parrots. 

The aquarium and reptile centre also will come as a continuation of the Boyd Foundation’s marks on the Midlands, which incorporate landmarks like Boyd Plaza outside the Columbia Museum of Artwork on Principal Street, a greenhouse at the historic Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens and an island wildlife sanctuary wherever the Broad, Congaree and Saluda Rivers meet.

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Columbia's Boyd Foundation making its mark: 'They own the growth of the region.'

The zoo’s aquarium and reptile heart renovations and additions, these kinds of as Susan the octopus and the giant luminescent wall of moon jellyfish, are also an financial investment in rising tourism, Wooten explained. The zoo remain on the major visitor draws in the condition.

The centre will give readers ground-to-ceiling sights of longtime Riverbanks inhabitants like the alligator snapping turtle, cottonmouth and bushmaster snakes and the environmentally friendly anaconda, but lots of new species of fish and reptiles will be there by March 2, the chief operating officer claimed.

Up coming to the coral conservation lab will be the center’s terrestrial lab, dwelling to endangered reptiles and amphibians from all around the earth like the Madagascar gecko. On the wall is a dwell digital rely of persons who took a pledge to help safeguard the state’s endangered wildlife.

“It’s vital for us to recognize our essential roles in conservation and how we can all do our component,” Susan Boyd mentioned.

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With new law protecting SC's reptiles and amphibians, conservationists look to future

The coral and terrestrial conservation labs will have infographics with instructed “tiny steps” for visitors to consider in each day everyday living to guard forests and the ocean, Wooten said, whether that aspect is doing work to preserve plastic and trash out of them, using reef-harmless sunscreen or advocating for lights-out beaches for secure sea turtle nesting. 

This story has been up to date to reflect that the aquarium and reptile conservation middle is a $10 million investment by the Darnall and Susan Boyd Foundation.

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