San Pedro aquarium highlights white abalone for Endangered Species Day

San Pedro’s Cabrillo Marine Aquarium will host a two-day educational program this weekend to teach folks about some of the world’s most threatened and endangered species.

Endangered Species Day, which will take place Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, will kick off with the grand opening of a new exhibit focused on white abalone, one of the most endangered species on Earth, with aquarium members getting a preview at 6 p.m. on day one.

“Abalone Cove: Rearing, Research and Recovery” focuses on the aquarium’s efforts to raise the ocean snails that are endangered because of over-harvesting for their meat and iridescent shells.

The exhibit is one of three set to open at the museum, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, by this fall and was funded by the Port of Los Angeles and 2022 gala attendees.

At 7 p.m. Friday, a presentation by photographer Oriana Poindexter will be featured. The photos, now on display in the aquarium’s Aquatic Nursery and Main Exhibit Hall, capture abalone up close. She will be joined by Melissa Neuman from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who will talk about the efforts to save the species.

“This new exhibit will allow us to showcase the beauty of this critically endangered species,” said Brenton Spies, who manages the aquarium’s aquatic nursery, “highlight ongoing research and conservation efforts, and allow us to expand our captive breeding capabilities in partnership with the White Abalone Recovery Program.”

Guests also will be able to learn about and interact with some of the other threatened species at the aquarium, including Pacific seahorses and giant sea bass, Spies said in the aquarium’s recent news release.

On Saturday, the aquarium will highlight community partners working with endangered species, including the Marine Mammal Care Center, the Port of Los Angeles, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the International Bird Refuge.

The brown pelican, brought back from the brink after being exposed to pesticides, is among the local success stories.

At 1 p.m., award-winning author Ann Vileisis will talk about and sign copies of her book, “Abalone.”

To attend the members-only reception on Friday, go to to join.

All of the other events are open to the public with donations accepted but no admission charged. A list of speakers and events is available at the Friends of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium website. Call 310-548-7562 for more information.

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