The Greater Cleveland Aquarium announces the birth of rare species

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CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland Aquarium announced Monday that it has welcomed a very rare and delicate species into its mix: the unhealthy sea dragon.

The species is native to the cold coastal waters of southern and western Australia.

The grassy sea dragon is difficult to breed successfully. The Aquarium of the Pacific experienced the first successful hatching of sea dragons in 2001. Since then, less than 20 facilities around the world have been able to mate them.

“These births would be a source of pride for any animal care facility, but it’s especially exciting for an aquarium of our size and age,” said General Manager Stephanie White, who works at the Aquarium since its opening in January 2012.

Curator Ray Popik said they had to get creative to ensure the sea dragons were in the right environment and were able to build an exhibit deep within the installation.

“Its depth provided optimal habitat for courting seahorse relatives with an elaborate vertical dance,” Popik said.

The Aquarium plans to soon be able to make the young dragons available to visitors.

“We’re learning so much,” White said, adding, “It was amazing to watch these animals develop, so we want to give others that opportunity if we can.”

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