Good nutrition is critical to the health of the animals and the team works hard to research and customise the diets of the animals, to keep them as natural as possible.
The carnivorous fish and sharks are fed on a range of hake, sardines and squid, even mussels and redbait are added periodically. Each exhibit has its own daily menu tailored to provide optimal nutrition for all animals in the exhibit.
For the many herbivorous fish in the aquarium, kilograms of peas, broccoli, green peppers, lettuce and spinach are prepared every day.
Many of the larger sharks and rays have been target trained, which means that we can feed individuals and to ensure that they each get the right amount of food and a special ‘shark vitamin’ supplement.
While many of the smaller animals, such as seahorses and razor fish, corals, fish larvae and little jellyfish can only eat minute prey. In the cultures laboratory the innovative team grow these special cultures.
Fish quality is very strictly controlled and every batch is tested by our resident microbiologist.
The diet of each animal is based on their weight and condition.
The uShaka Sea World Nutrition policies are constantly being updated to ensure that they are in line with the latest international trends, while the hygiene of the food preparation and feeding process are carefully monitored to ensure the best quality by our animal health team.
Enrichment forms a part of our behaviour management strategy, which further contributes to the well-being of the animals in our care.
Enrichment enables an animal to have power and choice over its environment.
We use social, cognitive, physical habitat, sensory and food-enrichment with the animals in our care.
Enrichment contributes to achieve physical fitness, adaptability, social compatibility, mental stimulation, to name but a few outcomes.
uShaka Sea World is affiliated with reputable animal training and behaviour organisations worldwide, such as:
Just as clean air is essential to us, clean water is essential for the health of marine animals. It provides them a medium for breathing, movement, control of body temperature and removal of waste.
uShaka Sea World provides water that is suitably clean, well-oxygenated and free from harmful germs and chemicals. This is done with state-of-the-art intake and filtration systems capable of purifying and pumping more than 250 million litres of water per month or 350 cubic litres of water per hour.
Water enters our facilities through a system of slotted pipes which are sunk into the sand off a specially built pier. The pier is located directly in front of uShaka Marine World. This ‘well point’ system, as it is known, ensures that our water is naturally filtered before it even enters the premises.
Once inside, the water moves through a system of pumps, biological filters, protein skimmers and sand filters.
Ozone is also injected into the water to act as a sterilising agent. The water in each exhibit is completely replaced every 2 days. A sophisticated chilling system ensures that the water remains at an optimal temperature for the animals. Different animals have different temperature needs.
Each hour, thousands of litres of water is returned to the sea via a canal system adjacent to uShaka Marine World. Thanks to our intricate life support system, the water in this canal is often cleaner than the water that enters uShaka Sea World from the sea!
We refer to the water system as our life support. It is monitored twenty four hours a day by a team of capable technicians and intricate computer technology.
The 470 pumps, 22 kilometres of pipeline and 9 pump rooms are a vital part of uShaka Sea World. A thorough understanding of the intricacies of this maze of pipes and specialised filtering procedures is essential to the well-being of each and every animal at uShaka Sea World.
uShaka Sea World is accredited by the Pan-African Association of Zoos & Aquaria (PAAZA). PAAZA is an internationally recognised organisation and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
PAAZA accreditation is the highest possible recognition that a living animal institution can achieve in Africa and not all institutions that apply for accreditation receive it. uShaka Sea World remains the only PAAZA-accredited aquarium in Africa.
The accreditation status is an acknowledgement of excellence in the fields of veterinary care, animal husbandry, record keeping, exhibits, level of cleanliness, staff operations, operational procedures, health and safety, and ethics.
Prior to the award being made, a comprehensive audit is carried out by a team of professionals including animal care specialists, veterinarians and aquarium specialists.