Some vegans eschew aquariums and zoos because they are keeping animals in captivity, in unnatural environments and small spaces, for human entertainment (as opposed to an animal living out its natural life as it's designed to, out in nature). I decided to check out the Waikiki Aquarium to see for myself. Although I agree the animals are captives in a small space, I am still ambivalent since this aquarium does a good job of education and it's possible it could turn on some people to helping animals and nature. A main focus at the aquarium is on coral, which are living animals, and the destruction that people wreak on the reefs.
Everything in these photos I took there is alive. Although coral looks like a plant, it is a live animal with a skeleton.
Check back later for some amazing photos I took of jellyfish and dragonfish.
Below: my favorite animal in the aquarium is this puffer fish. It is very sociable, since it is hand fed. It followed me around it's tank, trying to get attention just like a pet bird. Puffer fish have poisonous spines they stick out when threatened.
Below: a gorgeous fish called the turkey fish. It's spines are poisonous. Yes, I took these photos myself! Isn't it beautiful and amazing?
Below: I didn't notice this fish until it moved. Can you see it? This is a Nohu (devil scorpionfish) and it can inject poison if bitten or stepped on. Although it's topside is camouflaged, it's bottom side is colorful and it can open it's fins and display the colors as a warning.
Below: a giant clam! It's a live animal, not a plant.
Below: a photo of the aquarium's "reef". At bottom left is a giant clam. When they last weighed it about 6 years ago, it weighed 150 lbs. They can reach 600 lbs!
Below: a closeup of the giant clam. The plant looking skin (alive) is overlaid on top of the clam shell (skeleton). We saw a deceased giant clam shell that looked like a giant, fluted clam shell that you'd expect (underlying the skin). The clam receives nourishment not from eating, but from a process going on in it's outer covering. I'll have to go look this up, my memory is getting hazy. The exhibit also stated that it's a myth that giant clams eat divers.