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Dubai Aquarium on city’s summer pass

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Many Dubai Mall devotees will be used to passing the odd shark on a Saturday shopping trip, but the constant crowds outside Dubai Aquarium show what a marvel it is – the ten million litre tank is home to a whopping 30,000 animals. This is one of the star attractions on Dubai Summer Pass, which includes discount vouchers for Reel Cinemas, Sega Republic and Dubai Ice Rink to name just a few.

We spoke to the General Manager & Curator to find out more about maintaining the massive fish tank.

Sharks, crocodiles, jellyfish, stingrays… We have to admit we’re jealous. Do you have the best job in Dubai?
I think so. Not many marine biologists get to make a career like this out of the work they love. I have no trouble getting up and going to work in the morning.

What’s a typical working day for you?
This may sound unlikely… however on a typical day I could catch a shark by hand for a health inspection, attend a marketing meeting and prepare the company budgets. I have one of the most diverse jobs on the planet.

Do you have a favourite animal at the Aquarium? Or a fish that you’ve named?
King Croc is certainly my new favourite. He is the one animal that scares me. I have been face to face with him and I have to admit I get that sinking feeling in my stomach when there is no barrier between us. He is the most powerful and immense creature I have ever had the privilege to work with. At the same time he is so sweet with his female companion, sleeping in contact and never causing her harm. They have been dedicated to each other for 20+ years now. We are interacting with him throughout the day and he is never aggressive towards us… but we must always respect him for the apex predator he is.

Many people are scared of some of the animals you keep, such as sharks and crocodiles. Do you think it’s important for people to be able to see and interact with them?
Our goal is not to tell people these animals are not dangerous, because some of them are. Many animals are dangerous and must always be treated with respect. However the majority of people’s fears are not based on reality and once they learn the difference, being scared turns into fascination and a need to be closer. Sharks are the best example, and the majority of people in the mall cannot understand why we are not eaten every time we step into the water! 5,000 public divers join us in the tank each year to help set the record straight.

The Aquarium must use a huge amount of water. How much water do you use? And is keeping it fresh a big operation?
Dubai Aquarium is a 100% water recycling facility. We only top up daily what is lost to evaporation and filter maintenance. We require so little water, we can bring it in by tank trucks during the night. We have teams working 24/7 making sure these systems never fail.

The Dubai Summer Pass includes cinema passes, sega republic credits, ice skating and more for AED250. Visit www.dubaisummerpass.com

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