The National Marine Aquarium is celebrating after winning big at the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) annual awards ceremony, with three Gold awards and a Bronze award.
The first Gold was awarded in the Education category for the Aquarium’s Discovery and Learning team’s Toddler Morning Programme. Launched in 2014, Toddler Tuesday sessions run every Tuesday throughout school terms, and allow children between the ages of 2-4 years to explore the underwater world.
Two further Golds were awarded in the Research category for the Aquarium’s Lead Researcher, Dr Deborah Cracknell’s studies – ‘The role of public aquariums in human health and well-being: which is better – more species or more fish?’ and ‘Perceptions of biodiversity and their influence on human health and well-being: The importance of context and comparative judgments.’
The Aquarium also scooped a Bronze award in the Animal Breeding, Care and Welfare category for successfully breeding the UK’s first ever Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari). Kitts, one of the Aquarium’s female Spotted Eagle Rays, gave birth to twin pups in the summer of 2016 – a culmination of a high profile and long-standing collaboration by the team at the National Marine Aquarium, with other aquariums across Europe.
The National Marine Aquarium was also recognised in the BIAZA Photography Awards, where Marketing Assistant, Oliver Reed’s photograph of the Aquarium’s late Loggerhead Turtle, Snorkel, was commended. The photo captured Snorkel before an operation in London, shortly before she passed away in 2016.
Dr Deborah Cracknell, Lead Researcher at the National Marine Aquarium, commented: “The whole team at the National Marine Aquarium is delighted with our multiple wins at the BIAZA Awards. The number and diversity of categories in which we have won truly shows the commitment from everyone at the Aquarium – it’s great to see the team’s hard work being recognised.
“I’m particularly pleased that two of my research projects were awarded Gold. There is still a long way to go with the exploration of aquaria benefits, but these award wins are testament to my recent studies taking the important first step in understanding aquarium’s positive impact on people’s wellbeing.”
The winners of this year’s prestigious BIAZA Awards were announced at a special gala dinner event hosted by The Deep in Hull.
Dr Kirsten Pullen, CEO of BIAZA, said, “Our annual awards ceremony recognises excellence in the work being carried out by our zoos and aquariums as well as our associate members. Our community is committed to conservation, education, research, and having the highest levels of animal welfare and this is highlighted by the incredibly high standard of award submissions this year. I am delighted that the National Marine Aquarium has achieved three Gold and a Bronze award.”