Zoologico Metropolitano del Zulia

Maracaibo, Venezuela

The Dallas World Aquarium has been involved with Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus) since September 1997, when a baby manatee was accidentally caught in Lake Maracaibo, the largest lake on the South American continent. The confiscated baby was taken to the nearby South Park Zoo where a 27.5-inch deep watering trough, used for the hippopotamus, became the manatee holding area. An export permit for manatees was obtained for transfer to The Dallas World Aquarium, with plans outlined for construction of a mammal rehabilitation center in Venezuela for future injured and/or abandoned animals. The DWA sent architectural blueprints for the facility and equipment such as pre-fabricated tanks, high capacity filters and tanks to Venezuela where the items remained in holding in Bolivar for some time, due to international issues between the US and Venezuela. The DWA decided to finish its commitment by assisting with the funding for the construction of a manatee exhibit at the Zulia’s Metropolitan Zoo (previously known as the South Park Zoo). The structure allows for the display of two animals, with additional holding space. The DWA continues support to the Zulia’s Metropolitan Zoo with equipment such as capture rifles and darts, specialized food pellets and design and maintenance of their webpage.