The National Zoo wants the public to know that although it has nothing against invertebrate animals, it will close its invertebrate exhibit permanently Sunday, a move that will save the zoo $1 million a year. The Invertebrate House, which opened in 1987, also needs about $5 million in upgrades, according to the zoo.
“This difficult decision is not a reflection of the importance of invertebrates or how we feel about them,” Zoo Director Dennis Kelly wrote in a press release. “The exhibit has been a hidden gem cared for by passionate and expert staff. But this was a necessary decision for the financial and operational health of our organization.”
Each employee currently working on the exhibit will be reassigned elsewhere within the zoo and no permanent staffers will lose their jobs, according to the announcement.
The Invertebrate Exhibit is home to cuttlefish, corals, anemones, the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, water scorpions, the giant hermit crab, leaf-cutter ants, the American spiny lobster, giant clam and butterflies, and more. These animals will either be sent to different exhibits within the National Zoo, be transferred to other zoos, or, if they have short lifespans, “will likely live out their lives in the Invertebrate Exhibit.”
The last day to see the exhibit is this Saturday, June 21.
Photo via National Zoo.