Hayley McLellan is the Two Oceans Aquarium’s environmental campaigner, and is well known for her efforts to save the endangered African penguin through our annual Waddle for a Week awareness campaign, and the Rethink the Bag campaign. We asked her about her 10 favourite animals at the aquarium, and she gave us this list:

African penguins

"They are a symbol of how vulnerable our environment is to human actions. That any species can decline in numbers as rapidly as this one did, from approximately 2-million 100 years ago to fewer than 40 000 today. It shows us we need to tread lightly and leave as little impact as possible."

Northern rockhoppers

"Even though all penguin species are threatened to some degree, we need to remain hopeful that all is not lost. Leave it up to the rockies to keep us smiling every hop of the way!"


"Smart, resourceful, flexible, talented, intriguing … Let’s face it, he/she is just so much more evolved than me … or you!"

Hermit crab

"Talk about sustainable housing; this critter is always covered. Late night out? No problem, ever!"


"Even though they don’t typically group in the wild, watching our “herd” of seahorses gets me thinking about communal living in harmony. This is something to which we can all truly aspire."


"This species just yells “pay attention” to me. I find them completely fascinating, which is probably the least they could hope for seeing as they live in the deepest, darkest reaches of the ocean …"



"I once had champagne sole high up in a revolving restaurant, at night, overlooking a breathtaking view of lights, ocean and harbour – it was a very romantic occasion that I have clearly never forgotten. I no longer eat fish, so these solemates are safe!"

Picasso triggerfish

"In among all of the other fish with which this species shares its exhibit, this is the one my eye will always seek out and appreciate. Oh, and I discovered they sleep on their side, as do I! Kind of a weird thing to have in common with a fish, yeah?"

Surf Shrimp

"These guys instantly make me giggle – I have never seen the traditional ‘doggie paddle’ performed so efficiently! The fact that they are transparent is also appealing to me – just the way I like my relationships to be."


"Perhaps due to their seemingly illogical design for an aqua environment, they appear to me as though every move is measured and particularly well thought out. The attitude seems to be one of “just chill …”"

Thanks, Hayley! Watch this space as we feature more staff picks here on the blog.

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