The Green Connection
History and museums
The Green Connection is an aquarium and science discovery centre in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The Green Connection opened in May 2010 and is located just outside down-town Kota Kinabalu in the North west corner of the island of Borneo.
In 2005, the location where the aquarium now stands was a vacant swamp. Prof. Steve Oakley, a marine biologist working at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak's (Unimas) Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, along with scientists working with him, were studying and working on rejuvenating coral reefs and rescuing marine life. They partnered with Sabah Foundation (YS), which had similar goals of educating the public, and which is now the major shareloder in Aquatica Aquarium and Discovery Centre Sdn Bhd, which owns the Green Connection.
By 2010, about 1-hectare (2.5-acre) had been developed, and the aquarium was opened to the public.
The Green Connection showcases Borneo's biodiversity with displays featuring over 1200 species from seven ecosystems, and interactive exhibits incorporating many aspects of aquatic science. It has 650,000 litres (170,000 US gal) of recirculating water, and exhibits 12,500 plants and animals representing 670 species. The centerpiece of the facility is a 4-metre (13 ft) high 450,000-litre (120,000 US gal) tank for viewing coral reef marine life, where typical reef life is grown using natural sunlight. Another display showcases one of the worlds most deadly snakes, the banded sea krait Laticauda colubrina.
The Green Connection is arranged as an introduction to the ecosystem of Sabah. Visitors walk through limestone caves, dense jungle, muddy mangroves, reefs, and out into the open ocean where coral reefs grow.
The discovery section of the aquarium is an interactive experience where the exhibits bring the world of water and ocean science to life. School visits follow the Malaysian Curriculum and usually focus on environmental education and conservation issues.
When visitors first arrive at Sabah, the aquarium provides an introduction to the wildlife they will see throughout their visit. Once they have visited the reefs of Sipadan and Layang Layang, or the forests of Sabah, visitors can return to the aquarium to see species they missed while exploring in the wild.
The aim of The Green Connection is to promote marine conservation and environmental awareness. The Green Connection is committed to Conservation and makes every effort to create minimum impact on the planet. It has many snakes bred in captivity from wild caught parents purchased from hunters. The wild caught snakes are frequently damaged and require care and treatment for injuries. After treatment for males or after egg laying for females the wild snakes are released back to the national parks of Sabah. All the snakes on public display were raised from eggs and have been handled daily. The snakes are used in rotation so that they do not get excessive handling from visitors. The centre also has a turtle rescue centre where sick injured or juvenile turtles can be cared for before release back into the wild.
All the fish are purchased from fishers who would otherwise have eaten them. The giant coral reef tank has 17 tonnes of artificial Faux rock, 35 tonnes of sand, and contains 450,000 litres (120,000 US gal). The corals for the aquarium were planted between 2005 and 2007 on several nursery sites on degraded reef. The coral nubbins came from coral fragments recovered from bomb fishing blast sites. A total of 6500 coral blocks were planted and more than 10,000 faux rock blocks: some were overturned by fish and the corals smothered, some grew so fast that they have become part of the reef at the nursery site, some have been moved to the Green Connection and the nursery corals have been thinned and moved apart with the excess corals replanted back on degraded reef. The project has expanded and anyone can plant corals to help reefs recover.
In keeping with its conservation focus, The Green Connection was designed to be off-grid except for its drinking water. The foundation was built to double as a water storage tank holding up to 75,000 litres (20,000 US gal) of rainwater. All gray water is recycled after being filtered through on-site reed beds.
The Green Connection Aquarium is a Conservation and Environmental Education project of Aquatica Aquarium and Discovery Centre SDN BHD.
There are plans to set up similar centers, but on a smaller scale, in Tawau or Semporna because people from those areas do not have access to the main site.