ATLANTA, GA (February 17, 2020) – American alligators will make a return to Georgia Aquarium on Feb. 29, and this time, rare and eye-catching albino American alligators will join their armored counterparts in the newly renovated River Scout habitat.

River Scout not only allows visitors to view the world of freshwater animals, but become part of it. Guests can walk among rare albino alligators, viewing them through the glass-bottom exhibit. Throughout River Scout, visitors will learn why this species is crucial to the health of wild habitats.

“We are excited to share these animals' remarkable conservation story,” said Nathan Farnau, Associate Curator of Fish and Invertebrates. “The U.S. passed legislation to protect the rapidly falling number of alligators from the relentless hunting for their skin. Through recovery efforts and effective hunting rules, alligators made an outstanding return, with about 200,000 currently living in Georgia. We hope guests walk away with a new respect and understanding of these reptiles by seeing them here.”

The American alligator is considered a keystone species in some areas, including the Florida Everglades, because they play a vital role in managing the function of that ecosystem. Now, due to the effective management of these populations, American alligators can once again fulfill this role.

It’s estimated that only about 50 albino alligators survive in the world.  Albinism is a rare genetic mutation noted by a lack of melanin, a skin pigment, which causes the skin to be white and eyes to appear pink. Few albino alligators ever make it to adulthood for two reasons: their white skin is like a neon sign to predators, and they’re also vulnerable to skin and eye damage from sunlight.

These rare animals can explore and relax in their new habitat at Georgia Aquarium while staying safe from threats. The Aquarium partnered with the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility, to bring the alligators home.

“We are looking forward to our partnership with the Georgia Aquarium and are excited to display these beautiful Albino American Alligators!” said Jen Brueggen, Zoo Director at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

Guests can witness these rare animals in their unique habitat beginning on February 29!

For photos of the albino alligators, please click here.
For b-roll of the albino alligators, please click here or to view our announcement video, please click here
For more information about the renovated River Scout habitat, please visit the website.

About Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Atlanta, Ga. that is Certified Humane by the American Humane Association and accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Georgia Aquarium is committed to working on behalf of all marine life through education, preservation, exceptional animal care, and research across the globe. Georgia Aquarium continues its mission each day to inspire, educate, and entertain its millions of guests about the aquatic biodiversity throughout the world through its hundreds of exhibits and tens of thousands of animals across its seven major galleries. For more information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org

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