aquariums dedicated to maintaining captive
coral stock collections and establishing
a genetic bank, among other scientific
pursuits. While fragging is a commonly
used and environmentally friendly way of
sharing corals among hobbyists, it is a form
of asexual reproduction that does nothing
to increase the amount of genetic diversity.
SECORE is working on sexual reproduction
techniques—which do increase genetic
diversity—for endangered captive corals.
A typical archway tank at the entrance to a Rainforest Cafe restaurant is serviced by a
company, Landry’s helps to support groups
such as The Nature Conservancy, The Ocean
Project, WildAid, and the Wildlife Alliance.
The Houston Downtown Aquarium keeps
rare white tigers, so one year they worked
with the Wildlife Alliance and funded a
ranger station to help stop the poaching
of tigers and other animals in Cambodia.
The following year they outfitted a boat
with WildAid to help combat the practice
of shark finning off the Galapagos Islands.
They also helped to fund a wildlife rehab
hospital. Prappas says he does not know
what conservation effort they will support
this year, but they will give what they can.
One local effort revolves around the fact
that these are also the only facilities that
In addition to propagating corals, the
aquariums breed various types of fish.
To reduce the pressure on wild stocks of
Banggai cardinalfish Pterapogon kauderni,
they are bred and used throughout the
various Landry’s locations. Seahorses and
freshwater stingrays are bred for the same
reason. They are also traded for conservation
purposes to help keep a well-mixed genetic
line among the captive stocks. After breeding
house live coral. In Denver, specifically, there
is a 4000-gallon living reef tank. In this tank,
coral frags are periodically broken off and
sold to pet stores at extremely low prices.
The pet stores are then allowed to mark the
frags up—within reason—and sell them to
hobbyists. Landry’s uses the money from
the frags to benefit the various conservation
organizations they support. The program
has the benefit of allowing hobbyists access
to corals they wouldn’t normally find at a pet
shop. Additionally, none of the coral had to
be collected in the wild, which is beneficial
to the environment.
Furthermore, they donated some frags to
Sexual Coral Reproduction (SECORE), a
network of research institutions and public
Exhibits, such as this local swamp display, in
the Downtown Aquarium restaurants focus on
specific biotopes or regions.
Animals such as jellyfish are bred at Landry’s restaurant aquariums to reduce the pressure on
and raising piranhas, they were given out to
nine institutions. The sawfish, which is
critically endangered and listed under the
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and
CITES Appendix II, is kept by Landry’s.
They are now putting males and females
together in the display tank. Since little is
known about sawfish breeding habits, and
sharks rarely propagate in aquaria, Prappas
doubts that anything will come of it. But he
feels that it is still their responsibility to try.
The Denver facility actively works with
the state of Colorado on various local
projects, such as the cleanup effort at
the nearby Platte River. Instead of simply
helping aquatic life, they have supported the
Raptor Rehabilitation Center, which helps
rare, injured, and orphaned wild birds. In
Houston they work with the state of Texas
on its environmental initiatives. They also
work with the Memorial Park Conservancy