WINNIPEG - The Assiniboine Park Zoo is thrilled to announce the debut of a new attraction coming to the Zoo this spring. Stingray Beach, an aquatic exhibit located in a new rotating exhibit gallery, will be home to cownose and southern stingrays. Included with regular Zoo admission, the new exhibit will officially open at 12:00 pm on Thursday, May 16 in advance of the Victoria Day long weekend.
Stingray Beach will be located in a new indoor venue designed to house temporary exhibits. The stingrays will be housed in a shallow 1,300 square foot pool. Visitors will have the opportunity to touch the stingrays. Rays are typically docile creatures and seem to enjoy human interaction, though the animals always have the choice to swim away if they don’t want contact. An optional feeding experience will be offered three times daily for an additional cost. Windows along the sides of the pool offer underwater views of the rays.
Rays are an ancient group of fish that includes stingrays, skates, electric rays, guitarfish, sawfish and sharks. They can be found all over the world in salt and freshwater. At least one-quarter of ray species are threatened with extinction. Cownose rays (Rhinoptera bonasus) get their name from their unique forehead, which resembles the nose of a cow. They can migrate long distances in large groups of up to thousands of individuals. Southern rays (Hypanus americanus) have flat, diamond-shaped bodies. They uncover prey by blowing water out through their mouth and flapping their "wings" over the sand.
In order to ensure an optimal living environment for the rays, the new exhibit features a sophisticated, state-of-the-art water filtration system with multiple redundancies and 100% back-up power that will provide constant monitoring and precise control over water temperature, oxygenation and chemistry. The exhibit also has its own veterinary facilities, so that the Zoo’s veterinary team can conduct regular check-ups and provide specialized care for the rays as required.
Assiniboine Park Zoo is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please visit the Zoo website for more information.