Wednesday, August 9

Duluth Aquarium Gets a Fresh Start

By Kate Oblonsky

After years of operating at a loss, the Duluth Aquarium is shifting focus in the hope of drawing more tourists. The Aquarium will be reformatted this fall to house mongooses rather than the freshwater fish it currently holds. Duluth official, Kevin McDaniel, is heralding the transformation as a positive step. “People never had any interest whatsoever in coming to the Aquarium and looking at brown fish. Never. What people are interested in seeing is the only animal that can kill a cobra in battle.”

Though 87% of those polled favor the change, others are worried. Duluth resident Michelle Robins is concerned that the increase in tourism revenue will be offset by other problems. “I don’t think people are looking at the big picture here,” Robins said. “I’ve heard rumors that the real reason they’re bringing these mongooses in is so that they can operate an underground mongoose-cobra fight betting ring.” Indeed, in some Asian countries, mongooses are put in cages to battle snakes as a source of entertainment and gambling.

McDaniel insists that is not the case here. Rather, he maintains that it is “a simple matter of using the Aquarium building in a manner that doesn’t drain the City budget.”

Lawyers in the City Attorney’s Office are looking for a way to circumvent laws that make it illegal to import mongooses into the United States before the September 10 reopening.