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Wunderpus 2 - a nice ethics story


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Jan 22, 2004
I got an email from an LA wholesaler on Monday. One of their LFS customers in my area, Bao Le of Aquatic Gallery in Milpitas, was transhipped a zebra octo by accident. Bao had called to wholesaler because he didn't know anything about taking care of the octo, and the wholesaler knew that I was local to the store and put us in contact.

After discussing the needs of the animal for a few minutes on the phone, Bao decided it wasn't worth the risk to the animal to hold it in his store even for a week just to take pics and told me I should come pick it up because I had space in my ceph system. Faced with the idea of this animal on display in and LFS and therefore generating interest in keeping them, I decided to drive the hour to pick it up.

As I talked with Bao, he told me that he had contacted the wholesaler/collector and told them if they were going to continue to collect these animals, he would take his business elsewhere. He also told me that he felt the same way and didn't support the collection or sale of rays and seahorses. I actually called the store before I talked to Bao to ask about the zebra octopus and how much it was, and flatly they told me it wasn't for sale which tells me he was serious about this from the get go.

Bao also refused to take any money for the octo, even when I told him I would be happy to pay, and that I would be totally comfortable paying the landed cost. He was just interested in getting the best home for the animal as quickly as possible.

So, even though I didn't want another one, I now have a very adult, female wunderpus in Fontenelles old digs. She has already eaten and taken up residence behind the hang on tank overflow...seems oddly familiar. :grin:

It seems that in the anything for a buck marine ornamental industry there are indeed a few people who are trying to do the right thing. Gold stars all around in my book, so if you are in the Bay Area, please check out and support www.aquatic-gallery.com .
It's so good to hear about an ethical aquatics store owner (and from the website, looks like he has a beautiful store). I hope we see more of these attitudes.

Thanks for sharing this story with us, and welcome to your new wunderpus!

Wow, that's an amazing story I didn't think there was still people on this earth that cared about god's most amazing creations over the thought of making an easy buck.
Name suggestions? :grin:

Some pics:

1) In the acclimation (acclimitizing) bucket
2) When she was released into the tank she quickly picked a spot on the back wall and stayed there for about 30 minutes. She was all floppy, looking like she might be dead. Perhaps an 'I am not interesting' response?
3) A nice shot of the mantle
4) A reflection shot
She is bigger than Fontanelle was, I'm guessing her mantle is 25% larger, but thats a guess. She has had no problem eating live bait shrimp, but I may switch to frozen soon. I put a flowerpot in the tank, with the front opening partially obstructed with a rock to make it feel 'safer'. She hasn't been that active in the evening, but has been active in the morning.

Here is the exciting news. She dug a den in the corner of the tank with "Fiji Mud" as substrate. Over about an hour, against the front glass no less, she dug herself in, with a good view of her arms right against the glass. At one point she seemed to be trying to pull macro algae over the top of the den. She finally excavated it enough to fit all of her under the mud. I have video and pics of the whole thing, but am too tired to process them tonight. Her digging put very little detritus into the water column, it was amazing to see her pull herself down under the mud, and even more amazing to have her stick her mantle against the glass under the mud. Whew! Maybe in the morning, she will allow herself to be seen emerging from the den (but I'm not counting on being that lucky)
Phoenix - given a second chance, resurrected if you will, and rose above the ashes of the marine pet trade.

Calypso - cuz I'm a sucker for mythology, she kept Odysseus trapped "for her pleasure" and we all know our pets own us, not the other way around.

Barberella - because the colors remind me of a barbers pole, and she's a she

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