The aquarist and vet team members involved in the transfer gather for a safety briefing of the transfer procedure as well as a walk-through and rehearsal of the procedure from start to end.
Veterinarian Dr Ali Anwar sedates the fish by mixing an anaesthetic solution into the tank, starting with the lowest dosage.
The drug dosage needs to be carefully managed to avoid too deep a sedation that could lead to depression of the respiratory system. The team waits for the anaesthetic to kick in.
When the arapaima is ready to be moved, the aquarists go in the tank, using wooden poles to guide the fish towards the canvas stretcher.
Despite its sedated state, the arapaima put up an impressive fight, tearing the canvas into half.
An additional dose of the anaesthetic drug was administered before a second attempt is made. It took all the skill and strength of seven aquarists to safely contain it.
Three of the aquarists then clambered up to join their team members receiving the arapaima from above.
As swiftly as possible, the arapaima is brought to the tank of water atop the waiting lorry that will bring the fish to its new home.
The lorry arrives at the Amazon Flooded Forest back of house. After a final check to ensure all safety precautions were in place, the arapaima is gently unloaded.
The aquarists keep a firm hold on the arapaima as they bring it to the tanks at the back of house.
Finally! The fish is gently released from the canvas carrier.
An aquarist stays in the water to check that the arapaima is well and surfacing for air. All’s well so it is given access to the front of house tank.