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National Aquarium In Baltimore Gets New Animals From D.C.

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The National Aquarium in Baltimore is welcoming some new animals after their D.C. home closed its doors for good due to renovations.

Monique Griego has a closer look at the new additions.

This is just the first group of animals to come to Baltimore. In all, the National Aquarium is going to receive around 1,700 animals from D.C. Monday’s most exciting addition is probably an octopus, but there are some eels and also a lot of fish.

Four wheels isn’t the way you’d expect an octopus to travel, but packaged in cardboard is exactly how one arrived in Baltimore from D.C.

He’s part of the first group of animals to make the long, somewhat stressful, trip north from the recently-closed National Aquarium location in D.C.

“Everything went well. He was responsive when I opened the box so everyone down in D.C. did an excellent job,” said Kate Hendrickson, National Aquarium.

The D.C. Aquarium lost its space due to renovations at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In all, Baltimore will receive 1,700 of its 2,500 animals. Monday, trucks hauled in the first 38. While some went to the aquarium, the majority–mostly different species of fish–were unloaded at a holding facility in Fells Point.

“It’s a very intricate process. So there are a lot of animals that we’re moving that have specific habitats that we need to pay attention to–cold water vs. warm water, reef systems vs. not,” said Katie Webster, octopus caretaker.

Before going on display, all of the animals will spend 60-90 days in quarantine at the holding facility.

“Which means they come in, we check them for health issues, we make sure that they’re all clean with a full bill of health,” Webster said.

All throughout October, trucks will continue bringing up animals from fish to turtles, frogs and even seahorses. The new octopus will make two at the aquarium, but some of the animals will be things we’ve never seen before.

“Having an octopus is one of the highlights for the National Aquarium here so having him come in is just going to be an added benefit for everyone,” Hendrickson said.

The octopus and the other animals will have to stay in the small containers for a few hours so they can get used to their new surroundings before being moved into the holding tanks. It’s not clear when they will officially go on display here.

The National Aquarium has created a task force to look at options on how they can keep a presence in D.C., but for now, nothing official has been planned.

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