NOzeanium in Basel – A Victory!

A few years ago the “Zoo Basel” came up with a crazy idea: Let’s build a huge aquarium!

 Costs: 100 Mio. Swiss Francs. With that amount of money, an ocean national park, with 1’850 km2, could be protected and supported for 20 years!

Plus, imagine the costs for maintenance! How much energy would it use? Talking about CO2….

When I for the first time heard about it, approx. 2 years ago, I immediately thought, they must be kidding! Doesn’t everyone know these days, what a criminal business the trade with tropical fish is? Also with the big fish like sharks and rays, or mammals like sea turtles!

It’s of course a billion dollar industry and everyone involved want their share…But a zoo, who is supposed to protect animals and their habitat was planning to be part of this dirty business? Their arguments were stone age, such as education and conservation of the oceans…..erm….what?!

That was the believe 100 years ago, but today?

Nowadays, we know that millions of animals are dying in fish tanks – and have to be replaced again. Since most of these creatures cannot be breed, the coral reefs are being plundered – including destroying corals itself, sharks and other animals are brutally ripped off their habitat. Only to die a miserable death, sick and deformed because they can’t perform their natural life. So in the end it would be a continuous destruction of the precious wildlife!

It’s are very emotional topic, of course! (And I try to keep it short).

In the end, people in Basel could vote about the project “Ozeanium” – the 19th May was D-Day! Weeks and months before, the theme was in the medias. Politicians and scientists discussed the subject hotly and well-known nature- and animal protection organizations, such as Ocean Care, Animal Rights, Fondation Franz Weber (to mention only three), did everything possible to fight about this insane plan! People were in the streets and performed peaceful demonstrations against the “Ozeanium” and explained the massive impact it would have in the nature, in case the project would be adopted!

Well, to cut a long story short, the people in Basel decided wisely and voted “no” – with 54.56% – BRAVO! It’s a milestone and shows that people start to think differently! They are more sensitized about what happens to our planet, to the animals and their habitat! Finally it’s also about our own survival, right?!

Needless to say, how happy I am about the result – together with thousands of others! It’s such a relief and I do hope these 100 Mio. Swiss Francs will be used for ecologically worthwhile projects, such as the protection of our oceans and rainforest, or perhaps give the animals in the zoo in Basel more space, by renovating the site?

We’ll what will happen – maybe the zoo considers a project, similar as the new “ZOOXXI” in Barcelona.            A vision about education through zoo’s, developed by Fondation Franz Weber                                        (

Good luck, in any case!


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