Shark Reef educates Las Vegas on animals, conservation

Updated May 9, 2017 - 2:58 pm

Shark Reef aquarium director Adrienne Rowland said that while “Jaws” is a great film, people must realize it’s a fantasy.

“The aftermath of the film is unfortunate, with people suddenly much more afraid of sharks and killing them in great numbers,” she said of the 1975 classic movie. “At the same time it created an interest in an animal that hardly anybody was interested in before. That’s when a lot of the real research into sharks started happening.”

Rowland oversees about 80 employees, including about 35 aquarists — professionals who care for the animals in the facility’s tanks and enclosures.

“People tell me I have the greatest job in Las Vegas, and I don’t disagree with them,” Rowland said.

She said people don’t give zoos and aquariums enough credit for the work they do educating the public about the animals and conservation efforts. For example, Shark Reef is part of a multi-agency group working to preserve the Devils Hole pupfish, a fish native to Nye County, she said.

On a tour through Shark Reef, Rowland stopped to explain the feeding habits of one species of fish, which eats coral; pointed out where a reptile was hiding in the top of an exhibit; and explained the difference between venomous animals and poisonous animals. The former injects venom or poison through a stinger, fangs, spikes or something else. The latter is only a problem if you eat it.

Aquarists have to feed most of the animals individually so they can track each animal’s eating habits to maintain a diet and watch for changes in appetite.

Aquarists also don armored wetsuits and swim in the tank with sharks, rays and other animals.

Shark Reef’s curator, Jack Jewel, oversees the aquarists and has been at Shark Reef since 1999, a year before it opened; he worked on setting it up.

“I like that I am able to do something that makes a difference, that’s critical,” he said of his job. “I’m able to engage with the public every day and be part of the conservation solution.”

Contact F. Andrew Taylor at or 702-380-4532. Follow @FAndrewTPress on Twitter.

Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like