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Animal Welfare at the Aquarium of the Pacific

As a nonprofit education and conservation organization, the Aquarium of the Pacific is committed to setting the standard in animal well-being and welfare to ensure our animals are healthy, happy, and thrive under our care.

Molina Animal Care Center at dusk

The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Molina Animal Care Center is a state-of-the art facility that allows us to provide the best available care to our 12,000 animals.

The Aquarium of the Pacific and its staff are deeply committed to leading the way in setting new standards in compassionate animal care. The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), meeting or in many cases exceeding all standards.

The Aquarium provides homes to mammals and many birds deemed unable to survive in the wild by government agencies; all fish and invertebrates come from other zoos and aquariums, are born at our facility, are donated from illegal confiscations, or are collected or bred in a humane and sustainable manner; and all animals receive restaurant-quality food and state-of-the-art healthcare. Animals are added to our collection for educational purposes, to contribute to knowledge of animal husbandry, to support conservation programs, to preserve species from extinction, or to provide humane research opportunities. The Aquarium is also committed to supporting continuing animal welfare education through attendance at conferences, workshops, trainings, and other educational courses.

In accordance with our Animal Welfare Policy, our animal care team works to ensure every animal is in a habitat that meets its individual needs, receives proper nutrition, is monitored daily for behaviors that could indicate stress or health issues, and receives enrichment to maintain a high quality of life. An extensive Animal Welfare Assessment process is in place to monitor, record, assess, and discuss animal well-being. Factors reviewed are tailored to each species and can include social interactions, habitat, individual choice, filtration, water flow, lighting, behaviors, overall health, and enrichment opportunities with all given a rating on a scale of 1 to 5. These assessments are reviewed with a cross-departmental Animal Welfare Committee that meets every six months or when needed to discuss any internal or external concerns. All animals and enclosures are assessed on a regular schedule with follow-up protocols for any areas identified for improvement. Employees, volunteers, and members of the public are encouraged to submit any welfare concerns to the Animal Welfare Committee. This can be done by emailing the Aquarium at or calling 562-590-3100, ext. 0.