CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Waikiki Aquarium Director Andrew Rossiter posed yesterday in front of the Barrier Reef tank, which will be featured in a segment of PBS' "Window to the Sea" at 8 p.m. today.
Waikiki Aquarium gains notice in TV documentary
Its monk seals and coral expertise will be showcased on PBS
The Waikiki Aquarium is one of four aquariums featured in a documentary that airs tonight on PBS Hawaii.
"Window to the Sea" features the aquarium's resident Hawaiian monk seals, its captive-breeding chambered nautiluses and its expertise in coral propagation, Waikiki Aquarium Director Andrew Rossiter said.
The aquarium, at 2777 Kalakaua Ave., is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.
For more information, call 923-9741 or visit www.waquarium.org.
What: "Window to the Sea"
When: 8 p.m. today
Channel: PBS Hawaii station KHET-11, which is Oceanic Channel 10.
Other aquariums featured in the hour-long program include Shedd Aquarium in Chicago; Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif.; and the New England Aquarium in Boston.
"We may be small in size, but in terms of our reputation and in quality of staff, we're huge," Rossiter said, noting that the aquariums featured in the show were picked by aquarium directors.
"It's an amazing honor" to be chosen for the show, he said, "when some other aquariums have multimillion-dollar operations."
Waikiki Aquarium stakes its reputation on knowing and displaying the aquatic life of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific. More than 2,500 organisms in the aquarium's exhibits represent more than 420 species.
Among its "firsts" are breeding chambered nautiluses (native to Palmyra) and propagating coral in captivity, both more than 20 years ago.
Even now, the Waikiki Aquarium supplies live coral to aquariums throughout the world, Rossiter said. The practice spares the harvest of wild coral, he noted.
The aquarium's two Hawaiian monk seals, males named Maka and Nuka, allow visitors to see representatives of an endangered species that has just 1,400 individuals surviving in the wild, Rossiter said. Research about the captive seals' diets may help save their wild cousins.
The Waikiki portion of the show was filmed a year ago and includes a field trip to Kaneohe Bay for a look at a stingray.
"Aquariums have always inspired a certain amount of wonder," said show producer John Grant. "This program demonstrates how aquarium professionals do their work."
Waikiki Aquarium, founded in 1904, is the third-oldest aquarium in the United States and has been part of the University of Hawaii since 1919.