Shedd Adds Three Asian Carp Found in Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon to Invasive Species Exhibit

Invasive Fish Found by Illinois Department of Natural Resources Now on Display at Shedd Aquarium

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CHICAGO Shedd Aquarium, a global leader in animal care and conservation, announced the addition of three large Asian carp – specifically bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) – to its Invasive Species exhibit, after they were discovered on Oct. 9 during strategic surveillance by Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) fisheries biologists at an inland lagoon at Chicago’s Humboldt Park.

“Thanks to the incredible efforts of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, these three Asian carp have been removed from our urban habitats and will now serve as educational ambassadors to Shedd’s 2.1 million annual guests about the immediate need to protect our local waters,” said Roger Germann, Executive Vice President of Great Lakes and Sustainability at Shedd. “We have a unified mission to preserve and protect the Great Lakes. Sharing these animals’ story is just part of Shedd’s work that contributes to our conservation and research efforts aimed at finding solutions to invasive species issues.”

While there are many species of Asian carp, bighead and silver carp remain the most concerning for biologists due to their voracious appetites that leave little for native fish to eat, and have been found to be the most detrimental to aquatic environments. Actively involved in the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee’s Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan, IDNR fisheries biologists conduct regular surveillance of Chicago-area waterways through electro-fishing and netting.

“We are very fortunate to work with many great partners including the Shedd who provide an unmatched educational experience about this and other important Great Lakes issues,” said IDNR Assistant Director John Rogner. “Understanding the issues and what is at stake is a critical component to stopping the spread of invasive species and no one does it like the Shedd.”

Through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), key federal agencies are working together with local and state partners to address issues with invasive species in Chicago by providing funding for resources such as ongoing monitoring programs. The collaboration includes The White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers among several others.

Although officials are unsure of how the Asian carp ended up in the local lagoon, unintentional introduction can occur in various ways, such as accidental stockings or improper disposal of baitfish. Shedd and IDNR experts are working to continually educate the public on easy ways to help prevent the spread of invasive species in local waters.  

“More than 180 invasive species have become established in the Great Lakes basin with new non-native species introduced as often as once every eight months,” continued Germann. “Shedd is proud to team up with agencies such as IDNR to educate people about the many challenges facing our lakes, inspiring our communities to make a positive impact on wildlife and habitats.”

Guests are now able to see the newly added Asian carp on exhibit at Shedd, located in the Local Waters Gallery. Currently, the aquarium is also studying the biology of two introduced species: non-native weatherfish and round gobies. 

Shedd is committed to protecting the Great Lakes by conducting science and research through collaborative efforts with other Great Lakes organizations, facilitating work between Great Lakes leaders that will develop solutions for tomorrow’s conservation challenges, and offering immersive learning programs and outreach for all ages. For more information about Great Lakes conservation at Shedd, please visit or join the conversation online through Shedd’s Great Lakes Twitter and Facebook pages.

EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution photos and broadcast-quality video are available at: Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez.