Philippine reefs on display in Chicago

November 23, 2006

BusinessWorld, Nov. 24, 2006

PERHAPS the best place to appreciate the richness and diversity of Philippine marine life is outside of the country, and in, of all places, the windy city of Chicago.

Aside from its skyscrapers and imposing architecture, Chicago is also home to the world’s largest indoor aquarium, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, a city icon that has become the model for zoos and aquariums elsewhere for more than 75 years.

Three years ago, the Shedd opened its 10-room, $45-million Wild Reef exhibit, the biggest opening since the publicly funded aquarium unveiled its Oceanarium exhibit of dolphins, beluga whales, sea otters, and penguins.

First-timers would have no idea the Wild Reef, which occupies the Shedd’s new, 28,000-sq. ft. underground wing, is really all about Philippine coral reefs and the sea creatures that thrive in it.

The Shedd was already showcasing five distinct regional aquatic ecosystems — the Pacific Northwest coast, the waters of Ilinois, East African lakes and rivers, the Florida Everglades and the Caribbean reefs, and the Amazon River. Its long-term exhibit master plan called for an Indo-Pacific coral reef exhibit, making Philippine reefs the natural choice. Wild Reef was the highest point of the Shedd’s $97-million renovation and expansion program that spanned five years, with funding from the city of Chicago and Illinois state, as well as the private sector.

(For the rest of the story, click RP reefs.)


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