Red Lobster donates rare Calico Lobster to Virginia Living Museum
By Judy Triska, Media and Communications Manager, Virginia Living Museum
A call went out to members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) from the Red Lobster Seafood Restaurant in Manassas, Virginia, when restaurant staff discovered a very unique spotted shell.
Identified as a Calico Lobster, the large marine crustacean has a striking orange and black speckled shell as do only one of every 30 million lobsters in the world. Restaurant staff named their discovery “Freckles” due to its appearance and decided it needed a home fitting its unique colors.
Enter Virginia Living Museum’s Chris Crippen, senior director of animal welfare and conservation. “We take great pride in our conservation efforts and strive to create strong partnerships in our community. Red Lobster reached out to the AZA network — of which we are a proud member — to provide a home for this rare and beautiful animal.” says Crippen. “We see this as an opportunity to share nature’s anomaly with guests as well as continue important education about sustainable seafood practices and significant conservation efforts of the American lobster fishery.”
Calico lobsters seldom survive in the wild because their bright colors make them susceptible to predators. Crippen and, Patrycja Lawryniuk, aquarium curator, traveled to Manassas in April to retrieve the lucky lobster. He was collected from the restaurant’s live lobster tank.
After a health evaluation, Freckles was transported by van to his new home in Newport News. Once a short period of evaluation and quarantine was completed, he was put on exhibit to the public as a welcome addition to the museum’s Chesapeake Bay Gallery.
Virginia Living Museum is a leader in the use of natural living exhibits (animals, plants, marine life, reptiles, amphibians and birds) to present its mission — connecting people to nature through educational experiences that promote conservation.
VLM and Red Lobster are both partners in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which is committed to choosing sustainable seafood for healthier oceans, now and for future generations. The museum is indebted to Red Lobster and AZA for their part in this crustacean story that has a very happy ending.