WASHINGTON – The National Zoo is closing its Invertebrate Exhibit, citing rising costs and $5 million in needed upgrades.
The Invertebrate Exhibit's operating cost was about $1 million. It opened originally in 1987. Currently, it houses cuttlefish, corals, crabs, clams and butterflies, among other creatures. The animals will be sent to new homes.
The zoo announced Monday that the exhibit will close permanently Sunday. It is not included in the zoo's five-year strategic plan or its 20-year master plan. Plans call for a future Hall of Biodiversity, including invertebrates.
Zoo Director Dennis Kelly says the closure is necessary for the zoo's financial and operational health. He says the zoo faces rising costs and must adapt its programs to live within its budget.
Invertebrates make up about 99 percent of all known species.